"Today, wired sensors are used for monitoring the condition of aircraft engines, airframes, structures, gearboxes, etc. Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs), i.e., smart sensors with radio interfaces, promise unprecedented operational benefits, such as reduced airplane sensor wiring costs and weight as cabling is limited to specific scenarios and the flexibility to be deployed on-board aircraft without requiring a redesign of the data wiring layout.
To this end, the FLITE-WISE project will develop a platform including an autonomous wireless sensor node to which sensors, such as acoustic or pressure, can be connected. This platform is able to operate airborne on rotating blades in the long-term, thanks to the use of an embedded energy harvesting device. The same wireless technology can also be used for connecting rechargeable battery-operated sensors located on the aircraft outer skin.
The technical strategy is to build an integrated autonomous sensor platform from existing, already proofed hardware and software, and to bring innovations on energy harvesting, sensor interfaces, data processing and compression, and high performance communication parts, which are specifically tailored to meet the objectives of the call.
More precisely, the proposed concept is based on the results of the StrainWise project, which is retained for its appropriateness and efficiency in the targeted environment, most prominently by providing a wireless solution for aeronautic applications. The project develops innovative aspects that are essential to the achievement of the listed objectives: tight synchronization, high frequency data sampling, compactness, flexibility to connect several kinds of sensors (such as acoustic, pressure, strain, acceleration or vibration sensors), adaptability to different contexts (rotating blades and outer aircraft skin), robustness to the external RF environment with network self-healing capability, autonomy in energy and interconnection with the aircraft IT environment.
The consortium is made of three highly qualified complementary entities. CSEM brings its expertise in Wireless Sensor Networks and ultra-low power electronics. SERMA, an experienced actor in the aeronautics technology, will bring expertise in harsh environment and constraints, as well as industrialisation, production and test facilities. Imperial College London, one of the world leading laboratories, provides the energy harvesting and management expertise. The participants are part of ISO 9001-2000 compliant organisations, which also have ISO14001:2004 certificates. They all have experience in aeronautics system development, including RTCA and/or MIL standards."
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