Scientists at the Naval Surface Warfare Center-Dahlgren Division have recently invented a fixture that allows an aerial drone to be secured to a test stand for use in wind tunnels and other flight condition simulators. The patented technology is available via patent license agreement to companies that would make, use, or sell it commercially.
The employment of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has rapidly expanded around the world for civilian, commercial, and military applications. Drone testing is often required to ensure all systems will operate as designed, but conducting actual flights with the system can be costly. Instead, many applications could benefit from drone testing in environmental chambers that simulate extreme temperature, humidity, wind, and vibration
To this end, naval researchers have created an adaptive fixture to secure a drone module to a test stand for experiments in wind tunnels and other environmental chambers. In particular, the patent describes a ring adapter that attaches to the forebody of the popular ScanEagle aerial drone, developed and built by Boeing subsidiary Insitu. However, an alternate geometry of the fixture will enable components from other UAVs to be mounted in the same way.
- Grants the ability to closely simulate drone flight in a testing environment while minimizing the logistical footprint that such testing entails
- Provides a solution to enable cheaper testing of aerial drones
- Can be adapted for various drone platform components, not only the ScanEagle, whose application is provided in the patent as an example
- Businesses can commercialize the technology by licensing U.S. Patent 10,207,822 from the Navy
- License fees paid to the Navy are negotiable
- Prototype created and tested
- Businesses that license the technology may have the opportunity to pursue collaborative research with the inventors
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