The Peryton Atlantis team prepares to win

Peryton Atlantis Team

Team Peryton’s Atlantis team shares technical details of their first pre-manufacturing UAS design in this latest UAS Challenge interview.

Made up of a dozen final year students at the University of Surrey, the members of the Peryton Atlantis team bring a wealth of engineering knowledge and ability to the table, both from their time at the university and industrial internships. However, they lack the experience of competing in the UAS Challenge enjoyed by the current fly-off winners, Team Peryton Heron, which somewhat levels the playing field. While comparisons to previous winners are unavoidable, Atlantis thinks they have what it takes and have undertaken a complete design of their UAS to bring home the silverware.

“We want to maximize our points because frankly, we’re here to win,” team member Lizzie said in a rather businesslike introduction in the opening minutes of our MS Teams call. Front and center of the camera surrounded by a handful of his teammates, it’s a clear statement of intent from the team and proof of the confidence they have in their work so far. Having already prepared a detailed presentation they recently made at university as part of their course, the team are eager to show off their hard work, imbued with plenty of appropriate videos, photos, and even weird memes added to make good measure.

Dubbed Atlas, presumably after Plato’s first king of Atlantis, the team designed and developed a hybrid fixed-wing craft with VTOL capabilities, featuring unibody construction, a cross-shaped tail innovative design and a front-mounted tractor propeller. Bringing the best of both worlds to flight events, the immediate benefits of Atlas are obvious; having full wings will help minimize time on certain flight missions while being able to glide will increase accuracy in landing and dropping packages.

Speaking of package drop, the team has already been busy on campus figuring out ways to test the AirDropBox system and its parachute capabilities, with videos of the failures providing some amusement. Initial data collection allowed the team to refine their designs for integration with Atlas, using a string around the release mechanism that also replaces the base of their fuselage with a cover after release. “With all the other parts of the UAS being quite complex, we want everything else to be relatively simple,” Lizzie said. Testing with a fully loaded set has already resulted in successful airdrops, with the next step being to test the entire process once their UAS is assembled and in flight.

Propulsion has been a key area of ​​their build, with team member Tom keen to share all the groundwork that has gone into choosing their engines. “Physical testing has been a big part of our philosophy this year,” he explained, adding that time spent in the university’s wind tunnel allowed them to validate the manufacturer’s claimed performance of their engines and to optimize the size and weight of their battery. to maximize power and flight time, aim for a 4 m/s climb rat in level wing flight. The use of lighter materials in the construction of their UAS will offset the additional weight of the four VTOL engines, which were chosen to achieve the 30 NM thrust provided by each engine.

When it comes to Atlas’ other abilities for the challenge missions, the team has been hard at work. Using ArduPilot, LUA scripts and the combination of GPS and LIDAR data, Niki has made good progress on the standalone code for his avionics package, with some security scripts already implemented in case their UAS deviates from his path.

Keen to take advantage of the opportunity to get extra points in any way possible, additional code has been developed by Image Recognition Wizard Kavin for this specific mission. Covering a multi-step process to clean up the image, identify the correct color and shape of ground targets, and then report its position, successful progress has been made to establish a working system and live test results in the videos look very favorable.

Finally, progress on assembling the container and flight line is well underway, with efforts already underway to improve on their current five-minute time for the team to assemble Atlas.

With all the parts designed and the jigs in place for the CNC machines, the fabrication of the Atlas parts is the next key step for the upcoming reading week and all team members, regardless of their outstanding dissertations, will all be on deck to assemble Atlas. Manufacturing Manager Emily described the variety of different methods they use in their construction, including carbon fiber infused 3D printing for the custom connecting pieces, CFRP tubing supplied by Easy Composites for the skeleton, vacuum forming for the nose and some aerodynamic elements. fairings, while laser-cut birch plywood from SLEC UK will be used for the fuselage and balsa wood for the wing and tail ribs. There are also new material choices, including leftover VK drink cans, sourced not only from part-time jobs at their student union bar, but also from the drink makers themselves as part of the deal. most unlikely sponsorship that produced a supply of sustainable materials. By the end of the next fortnight, the team should have enough parts for three separate aircraft; plenty of spare parts for the start of their trials and for take-off.

Throughout the presentation, the team clearly know what they are doing and seem to have done a lot of research to support their design. However, with flight testing looming on the horizon, there is an air of anxious anticipation as the team figures out if their UAS is as good on paper as it is in the air, Lizzie en particularly concerned that the design won’t work as well. as they had hoped. Provided they begin testing early enough and with the caliber of teammates who have joined the MS Teams chat, the team should be able to address any shortcomings in time, although it remains to be seen what changes they will need. bring before the flight. in July.

Thank you to all the team members who were able to join in and volunteer their time for the interview and good luck to the team with the build and test phase of their UAS and be sure to catch up with the team Peryton on their website and social media channels.