CyberQuad: best of both worlds UAV designed for urban reconnaissance
By Alan Brandon
December 22, 2009
If one rotor is good, four must be better. That’s the general idea behind the CyberQuad, a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from Australian manufacturer Cyber Technology. The CyberQuad is an electric, remote-controlled reconnaissance platform that features four ducted rotors to provide lift and maneuverability, allowing the remote-control UAV to be used in urban and enclosed environments. The four rotors give the CyberQuad the payload capacity and stability of a helicopter-type UAV, while the ducted design avoids the dangers associated with exposed propellers.
According to the manufacturer, open propeller helicopters typically cannot fly through doorways or near people because of the risk of snagging their large exposed rotors. Ducted fan designs eliminate this danger, but require additional stabilization and generally cannot carry as much payload or provide as much endurance. The CyberQuad’s ducted quadrotor chassis is designed to take advantage of the best of both types of platforms. It features the simple mechanics, stability, and agility of a helicopter, plus the safety, compact size, and efficiency of ducted fans.
Cyber Technology, which produces several different types of UAVs, believes their CyberQuad is well-suited to the emerging market for urban aerial reconnaissance. With a payload capacity up to 1.5kg (3.3lbs) the Cyber Quad can carry a high-definition video camera or sensors for detecting gases, industrial pollutants, chemical warfare agents, or other materials. The brushless electric motors do not produce sparks so the UAV can be deployed in volatile atmospheres. In fact in November, the CyberQuad was successfully used to investigate a fire on an oil platform. The UAV was able to maneuver throughout the superstructure and transmit back high-definition video to operators located a safe distance away.
The UAV features vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) and hovering capabilities like a helicopter. It measures just 53 x 53 x 16cm (21 x 21 x 6.3in.) so it is easy to transport and can be deployed rapidly.
The manufacturer claims the CyberQuad’s top speed is around 40mph (65kph) and the run time is 25 to 40 minutes. The CyberQuad’s mission time can be extended, however, because the UAV is able to “perch” on a suitable landing spot and observe without flying.
Cyber Technology designed the CyberQuad for “stealth” operations by reducing the rotor noise. The four modular rotors do not use noisy gearboxes, and noise from the propeller tips is reduced by the duct walls. The fans are arranged in counter-rotating pairs to reduce gyroscopic issues and provide better stability. Each fan is independently controlled, allowing maneuverability without the need for additional control surfaces. In addition, the CyberQuad uses inertial sensors and high-frequency speed controllers to actively stabilize the UAV’s attitude and heading.
There is no word on availability or pricing. For more information visit Cyber Technology.
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