Camcopter S-100 completes 'DeckFinder' flight tests
The successful trials were conducted as part of work to expand the automated launch and recovery capability of the UAV in GPS-denied environments.
The week-long test campaign saw the DeckFinder receiver segment system integrated into the Camcopter S-100 at the Schiebel Testing Grounds close to Vienna, Austria. A joint team then carried out flights to test and evaluate the added capabilities brought by DeckFinder for highly accurate automated operations.
DeckFinder is a local positioning system that consists of a ground segment of six radio-frequency-based transmitters (Pseudolites) and a corresponding airborne receiver. Based on GPS-independent range measurements it provides the aircraft avionics with highly accurate and relative 3D position information, allowing it to navigate with an accuracy of better than 20cm over the landing zone.
The accuracy brought to the Camcopter S-100 during the trials potentially brings its users the ability to operate the UAV with high degrees of autonomy during periods of GPS denial from small vessel decks under demanding environmental conditions – something Schiebel believes will be an increasing requirement in future.
Hans Georg Schiebel, chairman of the Schiebel Group, said: ‘By feeding the position data generated by the Astrium DeckFinder System directly into the avionics of our Camcopter S-100, we are now able to operate fully automatically, independent from GPS during hovering, approach and landing, enabling us to launch and recover in environments that no-one has been able to perform before.’
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