Skip to main content

WILD HOPPER - Heavy-Duty UAV for day and night firefighting operations

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WILDHOPPER (WILD HOPPER - Heavy-Duty UAV for day and night firefighting operations)

Reporting period: 2019-11-01 to 2020-10-31

The project WILDHOPPER aims to develop a unique pioneering drone technology able to exploit for the first time the full potential of drones in wildfire extinction. Besides the wildfire monitoring and surveillance, technology’s main points include increased safety, higher extinguish efficiency, and possibility for night operation.

The added value of WILDHOPPER for firefighting operations lies on its lifting power and water nebulization system that make the drone capable of participating over 24h on extinguishing tasks.

Main technical project’s objectives are:

1. Increase the payload capacity from 80L to 600L
2. characterize the water release system to use ecological retardants
3. adapt the mission control system to the new features for autonomous navigation capabilities
4. manufacture a real-scale prototype
5. validate the prototype in an operational environment
Main achievements until M12 are:
• Engineering Design capabilities enhanced by generating different engineering office departments
• Close collaboration with experts’ companies (Aerogenix for System selection, MagCad for Propeller integration, Flow Control Engineering for Aerodynamics, SOLDATEC for manufacturing, among others) in order to extract the highest insight for the company
• Generation of self-made tools for automatizing design processes (such as Engine-Propeller integration design tool, telemetry analysis software or Attitude Control Simulation Environment)
• Database generation for the critical systems (Servo actuators, Engines, Communication System…)
• Multi-Fluid Simulations have been performed in order to characterise the firefighting operation
• Test Bench of a Ducted Fan with different injector positions has been manufactured and is currently being tested to efficiently design the water ejection system
• Mastered Automatic Mission Management through several Flight Tests for the different key enabler prototypes
• Integration of the vast majority sensors to be sensed/commanded by the autopilot in the final system
• Wildfire Mission characterization through simulation
• End-user customization capabilities enhanced by acquiring know-how in generating plug-ins through the Ground Control Station to perform desired extra functionalities
• Several key partners for manufacturing have been traced and selected
• V&V Plan generated in order to obtain the highest output from the Tests to be conducted
• A Configuration Management Process have been implemented in order to trace all parts concerning the System
• Workshop Technical skills have been enhanced by acquiring highly skilled personnel
• Rent of test facilities
• Several Tests have been done with prototypes to validate the procedures for the final prototype
• Regulatory Framework Dossier gathered
• Regulatory Framework Compliance Tools generated
• Regulatory Framework Compliance Strategy developed
• Expanded current Patents
• Started exploration path for core development patent
• The key enabler prototypes have caused very good impression during the demos and commercial videos and have opened avenues of investment in the project
• Started collaboration with AEONT for mass production of composite materials
• Sales representatives have been hired
• Launched ecosystem for potential clients and investors capturing
Technical Progress beyond state of the art:
• Generated architecture of design for heavyweight multirotor UAVs
• Test bench manufacturing for heavyweight UAV testing
• End-User customization tools to be prepared for an agile deployment in different wildfire environments
• Systems Engineering V&V Plan in UAV systems to promote agile implementation of low-medium scale projects
Expected results:
• Manufacturing of a real-scale prototype
o Generation of a supplier ecosystem for industrialization and facilitate the Go-To-Market
o Disseminate project results in order to enhance visibility of key manufacturing partners, adding value to their business model.
• Fully operative prototype. Impacts:
o Commercial impact gaining traction due to potential environmental demonstrations
o R&D&I impact in UAV-related projects as manufacturer, being a key partner for wildfire-related projects
o Dissemination of the work done to increase the traction of UAV market in the society
o Pivot of the original business model in different sectors, such as installation of heavy pieces, logistics, agriculture or Air mobility sector
o Push regulatory Working Groups to put focus on the operational scenario of wildfires, adapting regulation to the WILDHOPPER
o End-User customization tools service to be used in different applications apart from wildfire operations
• Engineering-approach design of heavyweight UAVs
o Optimization of the method
o Dissemination of the method through different papers
o Introduce the method in universities learning plans