Voting Result: 2.17877462736
Overview for MuPAV
MuPAV - MultiPurpose Aerial Vehicle
Entrant wishes to submit a cargo drone concept tackling limitations of drone use in civilian and urban environments, by focusing on safety and versatility.
1 - Safe and versatile design
A slow-paced aircraft made large and highly visible and wrapped in soft material will surely be of greater acceptability than a fast, blade shaped aerial object. I figured out a large size and low mass body, made of inflatable material and lofted in soft curves, aimed at reducing shocks, both to the public and to the shipload.
With such characteristics, the body is rather large, a 2x2m flat wing containing all the equipments and instruments of the aircraft. This shape offers a wide surface for air support, as well as for flexible solar panels recharging the batteries, thus extending use-cases and recoverability of the aircraft. As a bonus, the flat wing shape gives a 360° view angle (up-axis) to the operator.
An inflatable body (PVC or other lightweight material) offers shock protection but also buoyancy characteristics in water environment, in case of failure or as an alternative use-case (marine version for instance). Instead of air, the inflatable body can also be filled with a lifting gas, adding a non-marginal payload ability (circa 5-10%), or with hot air continuously produced by the solar panel.
The aircraft is designed for hovering, based on 4 large fixed pitch horizontal motors. Two small tractor propellers ensure forward flight, located at the fore in order to be less concern with surface deformation than in a pusher configuration, helped in stabilization by two tail fins.
Yaw, pitch and roll are controlled by a rudder and two elevons, when lifter motors are turned off.
Lift propellers are partially ducted. This has no positive effect on thrust however, this solution is aimed at limiting physical exposure to blades tips. The propellers are powered by conventional brushless motors in their center, but further researches could be made toward peripheral power sources and energy recovery systems. The lift propellers unconventional design is food for thought and intended for further development of the MuPAV alternative vehicular mode, as suggested below.
2 - Ease of use
Made of lightweight inflatable material and carbon tubes for rigidity, the aircraft’s hold is fixed underneath the wing and can be easily detached/jettisoned and replaced. It contains nothing more than the payload and the landing skid, so the MuPAV can fly without it. The hatch is placed on top of the main wing, and the payload meets the aircraft center of mass.
The cargo capacity also benefits from the size, with a max payload length up to 100cm. the cargo doesn’t require to be deflated for loading. Air cushions offer shock protection, as-is locking solution, and thermal/weather insulation to the shipload.
> Disclaimer : the following option could infringe the design brief asking to avoid tiltable wings. It is presented as a folding option only for ease of maintenance and storage, not for flight operation.
For ease of use, the aircraft has been originally designed with wings folding 90° downward when resting, so that its propellers become wheels, as to manually push/pull the vehicle prior to its flight mission.
When folded, the whole aircraft is now about the size of a stretcher trolley and be can moved within almost any facility.
Now just add a pair of servo verins for automating folding and imagine the potential of a drone that could also drive on ground… and soon we will get a cargo drone than can ship its payload to the very last meter, even in no-flight zones, even indoor...