University of Twente Student Theses


Safe descent of unmanned aerial vehicles under failure

Spaninks, R.A.J. (2015) Safe descent of unmanned aerial vehicles under failure.

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Abstract:Recent developments have led to an increasing number of drones becoming available to the general public and occupying civilian airspace. This trend is causing authorities to instate regulations for unmanned aerial vehicles, based in part on safety considerations. In order to avoid injury to human beings caused by unmanned aerial vehicles under failure, a need for reliable safety mechanisms emerges. This research elaborates on the key factors with regard to collisions between an unmanned aerial vehicle and a human head and proposes a design and prototype for a reliable safety mechanism. Various safety metrics are considered and the Head Injury Power criterion is used to determine the maximum impact velocity an unmanned aerial vehicle may have during a collision with a human head. Investigation of several case studies reveals that a safety mechanism is indeed required to avoid serious injury in case of failure and that current, existing parachutes for UAVs do not suffice. From several possible components the combination of a parachute, a spring loaded deployment mechanism and a pressure based trigger is chosen as the most reliable and effective safety mechanism. These components are designed, prototyped and tested for some of the case studies. The individual component tests as well as the tests of the final safety mechanism prototype prove that the design proposed in this research, which can be manufactured for any unmanned aerial vehicle based solely on its mass, is a competent safety mechanism to prevent injury caused by unmanned aerial vehicles under failure.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Programme:Electrical Engineering BSc (56953)
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