IAI to Develop an Efficient Power Controller for Small Unmanned Air Vehicles

IAI is developing an innovative Efficient POwer Controller (EPOC) for small Unmanned Air Vehicles (sUAV) using hybrid electric propulsion. Electric propulsion systems produce less noise, are more efficient, are easier to maintain and cheaper to operate in the long run than fossil fuel-based engines and power trains, but they lag behind in energy density. A hybrid propulsion implementation for sUAV combines the benefits of both energy sources, dramatically improving performance, leading to longer flight time and increased ability to carry heavier payload.

The EPOC architecture will be designed specifically for the sUAV airframe and will aim to maintain the balance between fossil fuel and electric under diverse mission objectives, environmental conditions and uncertainties. It will use an innovative ensemble approach for optimizing the partition of power source between battery and engine. Modern robust control methods will be applied to ensure graceful degradation in performance and efficiency, as the UAV executes different maneuvers.

The dramatically improved performance and longer flight times resulting from EPOC will benefit several military and commercial applications looking for extended range and endurance. These include the fast-growing list of organizations that are allowed to operate UAVs in the National Airspace (NAS) through Certificate of Waiver Authorization from the FAA. These UAVs may be used in a vast variety of services like pipeline inspection, wild life monitoring, power line inspection, and package delivery. EPOC will also be useful in futuristic UAV applications requiring On Demand air Mobility (ODM) which will be necessary for future ventures like Uber Air.

For more information on EPOC or to find out how IAI can develop a custom hybrid sUAV intelligent power control system for you, contact us.