Innovative Multi-Function Components For Rigitech UAV with ANSYS CFD Fluid3

Electric cargo UAV solutions

Fluid mechanics simulations help RigiTech to optimize their high-tech drones and develop innovative systems to increase reliability and range.

Task

RigiTech develops innovative electric cargo UAV solutions for the healthcare logistics market. Traditionally, off the shelf UAV grade pitot static systems are prone to clogging due to dust and rain. In addition, their metallic build and slender shape represents a potential hazard for operators when using the UAV as an industrial logistics tool. The opportunity to merge this system into an existing antenna cover was used to develop a water resistant and easily changeable pitot static system. The new design needs to accurately measure the airspeed for different flow angle within the flight envelope, cover and protect the antenna, as well as meet the design requirements.

Solution

The performance targets of the system were firstly defined, this includes a large angle of attack operating range, improved waterproofness and minimal size. Further, the flow disturbance should be minimized to fulfill the performance target.Using the existing literature about this topic a design was developed. It was then tested with the fuselage at different angles of attack and yaw and addition to different protrusion lengths to understand the effects at play and compare these to the theory. Through iteration and CFD testing, an optimal design was decided on. Finally, actual flight testing was carried out to confirm the simulation results which were confirmed.

Customer Benefit

  • Computational fluid dynamics greatly reduced the time to develop the pitot system by allowing various designs and parameters to be tested in little time. Further, it increases the success of the initial prototype, and less testing is required. This rapid iteration is a key part of developing novel product. Thanks to CADFEM, RigiTech achieved the following results:1. Reductions in prototypes and flight tests2. Determination of the flight envelope for the pitot static system3. Validation of fuselage pitot interaction (low drag)4. Develop multi-functional pitot static system for their Eiger drone which is now shipping to customers