European Defence Agency selects quadrotor design for micro air vehicle demonstration

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The European Defence Agency has selected a quadrotor design for its €4 million ($5.58 million) micro air vehicle demonstrator (Mavdem) project.

Involving French aerospace agency Onera, Italy's Oto Melara, Norway's Tellmie and Spanish company Sener, the demonstration will require the manufacture of three air vehicles, including one to perform initial flight testing in Spain between January and June 2008, and two to be delivered to the EDA.

The selected quadrotor was one of two final designs, selected from a group of six that emerged from a original 26 identified candidates. The runner-up design was a low-drag fuselage, high-performance design. Prototype integration will start during October, with a critical design review recently having been completed.

"We have developed the [quadrotor's] simulator and created a ground control station interface with rapid prototyping tools," Mavdem team member Antoine Joulie told the 17-21 September US-European MAV conference and workshop in Toulouse, France.

Powered by a lithium polymer battery, the autonomous system will operate in three flight modes: manual set-up, automatic and crash, he said. Each rotor is independently powered and flight control is through differential rotor operation. The MAV will perform its final demonstration flight in Norway by the end of the third quarter of next year.