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ADAPTIVE SELF-TUNING FLIGHT CONTROL SYSTEM COMPLETE AND QUALIFIED

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AST-FCS_vF (ADAPTIVE SELF-TUNING FLIGHT CONTROL SYSTEM COMPLETE AND QUALIFIED)

Reporting period: 2014-10-01 to 2015-03-31

Change and uncertainty inherent in flight dynamics and the wide variety of aircraft platforms have resulted in new challenges for flight control systems (FCS). However, the underlying control technology used in aeronautics has remained largely unchanged and proposed alternatives have not adapted well to either the new technical demands or the uncertainties.

ADEX’s business plan to develop a novel Adaptive Self-Tuning Flight Control System (AST-FCS) for application to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) addresses these challenges.

This development (Phase 2 of the H2020 AST-FCS_vF project) will be a first step towards the introduction of AST-FCS to the aircraft industry generally, and establish Europe as a leader in FCS. This avoids the high costs in certifying manned aircraft, while benefiting from current growth in the UAV civil market; the Target Subgroup (TS) of the total addressable market (all aircraft).

The “ADEX Inside” technology is not intended to compete head-on with flight control system (FCS) manufacturers, but rather to collaborate with them through integration with their existing FCS products thus providing improvement while avoiding any conflict and potential resistance. We have received positive letters of interest from nine potential international manufacturers. The project development plan, Phase 2, consists of integrating the adaptive self-tuning flight control laws (AST-FCL) into three AST-FCS beta prototypes, with three different manufacturers, leading towards the final commercial development of a range of AST-FCS products (Phase 3). The basic AST-FCS concept has already been demonstrated in an EADS pilot project called ATLANTE.

The overall business strategy will be twofold: 1) to identify new manufacturer partners who wish to embark on integrating AST-FCL to create new AST-FCS products within their product portfolio and 2) to provide existing partners with further “ADEX Inside” software licenses, resulting in higher profit margins.

After the first four years of Phase-3, we will have reached sales of €2,2M, 12.3% of the initial TS market (€18M), which is 0.91% of the total addressable market. We will therefore have reached 0.11% of the total addressable market, which by year 2020, will amount to approximately €2Billion.

Finally, during Phase 3, the strategy will eventually reach out into remaining areas of the total addressable market, building upon our experience and success with UAVs.
This deliverable presents the Feasibility Study results of the Phase 1 of the project proposal No. 650877 AST-FCS_vF –SME-1, strategic objective H2020 H2020- SMEINST-1-2014, whose objective is the commercialization of the first Adaptive Self-Tuning Flight Control System (AST-FCS) in the history of aeronautics, based on internationally patented ADEX technology.

The Business and Commercial exploitation Plan, described in Section 2, is based on the “ADEX Inside” concept which aims to integrate adaptive self-tuning flight control laws (AST-FCL) into current flight control systems (FCS) in the market through cooperation with existing FCS manufacturers for UAVs as a springboard into the larger civil aircraft market. Section 3 presents the Phase 2 Work Plan to carry out the development and validation of three AST-FCS beta prototypes ready for business. In Section 4, the feasibility and technical viability of the project analyses constraints and challenges. The market study in Section 5, examines the various aircraft types and evaluates the scope for short and long term entry with UAVs identified for the short term. The viability of the business plan is demonstrated in Section 6 and the IP regime is described in Section 7. Project risks are assessed in Section 8 and, finally, Section 9 provides the conclusions.
A Business and Commercial Plan for the exploitation of an Adaptive Self-Tuning Flight Control System (AST-FCS) has been developed based on the “ADEX Inside” concept. According to this, the Adaptive Self-Tuning Flight Control Laws (AST-FCL) based on ADEX technology will be integrated in flight control systems (FCS) for UAVs from different manufacturers to obtain beta prototypes of business ready AST-FCS products.

The “ADEX Inside” technology is not intended to compete head-on with FCS manufacturers, but rather to collaborate with them, inserting “ADEX Inside” into their existing FCS products in order to enhance their ability to deal with the fundamental problems of uncertainty inherent in flight dynamics generally. The innovative technology concept and the proposed business model have been well received by nine international manufacturers who have responded positively with letters of interest. The IP of AST-FCL is legally protected by two international patents. The first one defines ADEX technology, and the second one, the basic optimization control strategy of the AST-FCL. Software protection against reverse engineering and copy will be implemented, as well as a revenue protection mechanism.

In order to prove the generic viability of the AST-FCL in the UAV market where the requirements will vary considerably, a 24 month Work Plan will develop three different business ready AST-FCS beta prototypes. It will also help to establish an early foothold in three different geographic areas and companies. This will provide an ideal starting point for the subsequent commercial exploitation (Phase 3) of the AST-FCS product range worldwide. The design of the Work Plan ensures its technical feasibility taking into account the project constraints and challenges.

The business plan envisages this as a first step towards the introduction of AST-FCS into the market, to avoid incurring initially the high costs associated with certifying manned aircraft, while at the same time taking advantage of the current dramatic increases in the UAV civil market. The Market study has focused primarily on this UAV market as a Target Subgroup (TS) of the total addressable market which includes all manned and unmanned aircraft.

While the total addressable market in 2015 for the AST-FCL amounts to €1,235.40M rising to €1,989.64M in 2020, the TS market in 2015 amounts to €11.25M rising to €18.11M in 2020. The TS market therefore, is less than 1% of the total addressable market. The Economic Viability Study estimates that in year 4 of Phase-3 the AST-FCL license gross sales will amount €2,224,600; having reached 12.3% of the initial TS market and 0.11% of the total addressable market. The total license gross sales for the first four years of Phase-3 will reach the amount of €4,164,140. Estimates from the profit and loss account in year 4 of Phase 3 indicate that the EBITDA will amount to €2,063,713 and the EBIT to €1,969,264, assuming the investment made during Phase 2 will be amortized over a 5 year period.

Overall, this document has demonstrated the economic viability, credible market strategy, and technical innovation of the AST-FCS, which will establish European leadership in flight control.
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