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Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for protecting soft/critical urban infrastructures, and the general public in extreme environments.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EXTREMDRON (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for protecting soft/critical urban infrastructures, and the general public in extreme environments.)

Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2016-07-31

> What is the problem/issue being addressed?

The commercial UAVs available on the market today, do not have the capability nor the technologies developed to operate in extreme environments (fires, nuclear radiation, EMF/EMR). The limitations of these UAV products are the following:
• The materials used are not suited for high temperature operating environments. These UAVs have structural temperature limitations (<140C) that are not suited for operations in close proximity to fires.
• The aircraft structures are not designed with an electromagnetic/radiation shielding barrier to protect the onboard electronics systems.
• The high temperature composite materials and resins are not specifically designed to address both high temperatures and radiation requirements.
• The aircrafts flight envelope is not designed to fly in high temperature and low density air.
• The aircrafts are not designed to incorporate an onboard cooling system so that the electronics and payloads do not exceed the operating temperature limits.
The UAV products available have been designed for either the hobby market, or professional applications that do not require flight operations in extreme conditions. The EXTREMDRON project will address these technology voids, and will produce a fully functional prototype that can be evaluated during the validation phases.

> Why is it important for society?
There is an urgent need for an aerial monitoring and sensing aircraft focused on the protection of heavily populated areas and critical/soft infrastructures during extreme situations and environments. AERDRON’s proposal ‘EXTREMDRON’ focuses on creating a next generation UAV for aerial monitoring applications in extreme operating environments (fire, nuclear radiation, EMF/EMR, chemical). This particular UAV mission niches have not been successfully addressed by any products currently on the market, and there is a real world need voiced from industries and government agencies. The EXTREMDRON provides an aerial monitoring platform for security agencies to analyze data, identify threats, and measure dangerous airborne substances in areas which may be rendered hazardous or inhabitable. The EXTREMDRON provides a means to identify and quantify these dynamic threats by rapidly deploying an UAV aircraft to areas under distress.

> What are the overall objectives?
The EXTREMDRON main project objective is to upgrade our existing ED1 EXTREMDRON UAV aircraft so that it can operate in extreme conditions to provide critical real time data to save lives and protect soft/critical infrastructures. The secondary objectives are to develop new material technologies, aircraft structures, and support systems that are needed to operate in these extreme environments.
>> Material Research

During Phase I, we learned that we needed to upgrade the technologies on our existing ED1 EXTREMDRON so that it can operate at very high temperatures >140C to fly in the proximity of fires. The EXTREMDRON structure will require the addition of high temperature proprietary formulated hybrid composite materials to maintain structural integrity and protect the onboard electronics and payloads against fire and radiation damages.

During the Phase I feasibility study, AERDRON contracted Sonic Composites to investigate feasibility of adapting composite materials that can withstand high heat, radiation and provide electromagnetic shielding. AERDRON concluded that developing these hybrid materials is manageable and feasible per the feedback received from Sonic Composites. A detailed design and testing program would be required during Phase II so that requirements are validated for each of the extreme mission environments.
Aircraft Configuration and Physical Scale

During the Phase I feasibility study, we learned that our current ED1 EXTREMDRON will need to be modified from a multirotor (helicopter type) design to a fixed wing aircraft. A multirotor design will not have the required flight duration, payload capacity, stability, nor the performance required at high ambient temperatures to provide sufficient thrust to sustain flight. A fixed wing aircraft with a high lift to drag ratio could sustain flight with a fraction of the power required when compared to a multirotor. The detail design modifications of the ED2 EXTREMDRON will be conducted during the Phase II engineering phases. AERDRON believes these design modifications will ensure the project’s success and are feasible.

>> Payload Sensor Technologies, Laser Bomb Detector

AERDRON researched the latest explosive sensor technologies during the Phase I feasibility study. We learned that university researchers have developed an advanced bomb detection technique that uses lasers capable of detecting chemicals used in explosives. AERDRON contacted the university (Michigan State), and was told that these sensors could be miniaturized to fit aboard an UAV. In phase I, we concluded that the EXTREMDRON UAV would be a perfect aerial platform for researchers to test and validate the detection capabilities in a real world application. In phase II, we plan to adapt this new sensor technology to fit aboard our ED2 EXTREMDRON.
UAV Regulations

During phase I, we learned about updates to U.S. regulations, which are a major milestone and confirm that the market is opening and adapting to the usage of commercial UAVs and new applications. AERDRON believes the EXTREMDRON project will not face any regulatory, or certification blockages due to the size, and class of the of the aircraft platform. During Phase II, AERDRON will hire an UAV regulatory consultant to advice on legal and marketing issues for each country the EXTREMDRON will pursue commercialization. AERDRON concluded that local/global UAV regulations will not pose any road blocks to the operations or commercialization of the EXTREMDRON.
Patent Search

During the Phase I feasibility research, AERDRON performed a freedom to operate study (patent search) and the preliminary analysis showed there was no IP (intellectual property) conflicts. During Phase II, a more advanced patent search will be performed to protect each of the invention claims (materials, manufacturing methods). AERDRON intellectual property (IP) protection strategy will include filing for patent protection for any derived inventions yielded from the EXTREMDRON project in Europe and USA. AERDRON will consult with a patent attorney to ensure maximum IP protection and that we are not infringing on any known patents. AERDRON concluded that the EXTREMDRON project has a high chance of being awarded several patents.

>> Market Analysis

Funding for the Phase I feasibility study allowed us to attend Xponential 2016, the largest unmanned systems show in the worl
AERDRON has been actively developing an aerial monitoring solution called the EXTREMDRON for professional monitoring applications. Our first version, the ED1 EXTREMDRON is equipped with a proprietary developed ROS (Robot Operating System) that configures sensors and cameras (Plug & Play) with a USB host, and encrypts communications thru an onboard microcomputer. Our software system gives users the ability to plug a device into the platform and have the computer recognize and configure the device (similar to PC operating system). The upgraded version (ED2) of this platform that that we will develop during Phase II , will operate in extreme environmental conditions like very high temperatures (fires), nuclear radiation, industrial chemical fires/spills, and strong electromagnetic fields.

During the Phase I feasibility study, AERDRON investigated the technology upgrades (materials, aerodynamics, aircraft structures, support systems, and heat dissipation systems) that are required to operate in extreme environments. The ED2 structure will utilize proprietary developed high temperature radiation shielding composite panels to maintain structural integrity and to reflect radiation. None of the commercial UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) products available would protect the structure, electronics, and payloads against these extreme conditions.

The EXTREMDRON can be deployed for bomb detection missions to pinpoint the location of explosives in urban and critical infrastructure locations. In phase II, the EXTREMDRON project will adapt new sensor technologies that use lasers to detect and identify explosive compounds. The EXTREMDRON is innovative in that it will develop advanced materials, aircraft structures, and payload systems to operate in extreme conditions for security and defense applications. This market niche has not been exploited yet by our competitors.

AERDRON believes the EXTREMDRON UAV will have a significant socio-economic market impact and will provide enhanced security capabilities to European Union, and increase protection of soft/critical infrastructures. The EXTREMDRON provides an aerial monitoring platform for security agencies to analyze data, identify threats, and measure dangerous airborne substances in areas which may be rendered hazardous or inhabitable. The EXTREMDRON provides a means to identify and quantify these dynamic threats by rapidly deploying an UAV aircraft to areas under distress.
EXTREMDRON UAV Hazardous Chemical Monitoring
EXTREMDRON UAV Nuclear Radiation Monitoring
EXTREMDRON UAV Industrial Fire Monitoring