German Engineers Land UAV On Moving Car
” An unmanned, electric, autonomous aircraft travelling at 75 kilometres per hour lands gently on the roof of a moving car. For the first time, researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have successfully demonstrated a technique developed for this purpose. The system is designed for civil applications in the fields of remote sensing and communication, and could be applied to ultralight solar-powered aircraft that complement conventional satellite systems while flying in the stratosphere.In the event of a disaster, this could support crisis management through live situation reports, replace failed communications networks or provide data on climate change. Eliminating the landing gear significantly increases the payload capability of a solar-powered aircraft. This in turn creates more space for scientific instruments. The system also simplifies landings in adverse weather conditions including crosswinds or wind gusts.
Combining technologies from the fields of robotics and UAVs, researchers from the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics have developed a system that enables a fixed-wing aircraft to land autonomously on a moving ground vehicle. This system has now been successfully tested using a three-metre, 20 kilogram, electrically powered fixed-wing UAV during flight trials at Mindelheim-Mattsies airfield in Bavaria. To accomplish this, the researchers fitted a special platform equipped with a number of optical markers to the roof of a car. The aircraft is able to navigate to a position – accurate to within 50 centimetres – above the four-metre-long by five-metre-wide mobile platform. An optical multi-marker tracking system recognizes the landing platform and performs a highly accurate calculation of its position relative to the ground vehicle. The landing is then carried out under computer control.”