Skip to main content

Smart Inceptor BACKup electronics

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SIBACK (Smart Inceptor BACKup electronics)

Reporting period: 2019-12-01 to 2021-07-31

Smart Active Inceptor is part of new generation pilot controls that is improving piloting, reducing pilot’s workload and increasing safety on board. Thanks to electric control loop, it provides new functionalities not feasible via classic solutions using simple springs, such as electric coupling, real time modification of control laws to reflect aircraft situation, shaking, …. . In a simple word, it gives back to the pilot the feeling of piloting.
Thus an electronic unit is required to manage all aspects of this new product, including power supply and control.

This new electronics unit (BICU) for Smart Active Inceptor was successfully developed by the Consortium in close collaboration with Topic Leader Safran Electronics & Defense .
The main challenge addressed within SIBACK project was to integrate all required complex functionalities in the allowed case. Several daughter boards have been integrated to optimize the space used in the case.
An efficient design was achieved in terms of compromise between Compactness, Weight and Performance. The BICU has been integrated in a 2MCU casing achieving to maintain a low weight.
This level of service was achieved thanks to a close collaboration between Topic leader Safran Electronics & Defense and Coordinator TRONICO. The final BICU demonstrator was released meeting a TRL4. Next step, performed by Topic Leader, is to integrate the electronic unit with the electro-mechanical device and applicative software in order to proceed with functional and performance tests and reach TRL5.

The BICU was developed with maximum modularity in order to address different markets. It can be customized easily to meet different platform constraints. The standard size of the BICU (ARINC600 2 MCU) allows an easy integration on different platform; this constraint were a real challenge for the design team. Thermal constraints have been taken into account be thermal modeling ensuring a good level of efficiency of BICU.
For maintainability purposes, a modular electronics has been designed, including standard modules from Safran Electronics & Defense . CTRL board on COM or MON channel are similar that optimize the maintainability of the product. This point was a real challenge since COM and Mon boards are similar. Indeed, all boards X-talk channel have been managed thought FdP Boards leading to a complexy of the PCB routing and manufacturing activities.
Some technological bricks have been developed to address BICU technical constraints. For example, the power balance between both A/C 28V DC power sources: The BICU is powered by 2 lines 28V to provides 2 times 15A (30A); The aim of this function is to balance the consumption on each 28V channel (one 28V channel can have a real voltage at 16V and the second one at 32V ➔ the drawn power on each channel will be identical) »
During the first period, the following work have beed performed :

WP1 : Specification :
- Product and boards specification have been written.

WP2 : Preliminary design review :
- Electrical Interface Control document have been written
- Architecture have been defined
- Mechanical 3D mockup have been performed

WP3 : etailed design :
- Electrical sheme and BOM have been performed)
- Place and route activities have been began during first period

During the second period, the following work have beed performed :

WP3 : Detailed design :
- Place and route activities
- Release Definition files

WP4 : Manugfacturing :
- Prototypes manufacturing

WP5 : Functional validaiton :
- BICU power oin and Debug
- Boards validation
- BICU validation

WP6 : Critical Design :
- Final BICU Definition files
- Final BICU Validation & Qualification Test Plan & Procedures

WP7 - Qualification
- Support provided to Topic Leader for Integration tests
Conventional side sticks are said to be passive sticks because the force feel feedback is realized by mechanical springs. Active sticks are called active because the force feel feedback is produced and actively adapted by electric motors. Active control of electric motors enables several active functionalities such as inceptor back drive (i.e. inceptors moving following AP orders), virtual coupling between left pilot and right pilot inceptors, tactile cueing (vibrations, force variations for e.g.).
In the AIS, motors are mounted in a direct drive configuration. There is indeed no gear train between the grip and the motor shaft. The mechanical transmission joint is designed such that the motors never complete entire rounds, but operate on a theoretical quadrant up to 140°.
Motor torque and velocity requirements are dictated by force and speed at grip level.
The AIS Control System is constituted with 2 Smart Inceptor Control Unit (BICU). Each integrates one Channel.
Each BICU control both Inceptors and communicate with Flight Control System.
BICU is an electronic equipment based on power, numerical and analog functions embedded in a specific mechanical casing.
BICU internal architecture consists on a COM/MON design.
By the BICU development through SIBACK project, the consortium shows the feasability to develop an active inceptor electronics integrated in 2 MCU ARINC600 Format.

The BICU is integrated in a 2MCU casing which is very compact to integrate all the necessary functions.
The Design is judged efficient by SAFRAN in terms of compromise between Compactness, Weight and Performance.
This level of service was achieved thanks to a close collaboration between SAFRAN and TRONICO