Skip to main content

Next Generation Smart Active Inceptors System development for Tilt Rotor application

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SAIS (Next Generation Smart Active Inceptors System development for Tilt Rotor application)

Reporting period: 2020-06-01 to 2021-05-31

The SAIS project is aimed at designing, developing, manufacturing and qualifying a smart active inceptors system for the cockpit of the next generation civil tiltrotor.
The design will focus on inceptors’ mechanical interfaces and at the same time studies on ergonomics, electromechanical senso-actuators, haptic capabilities, command logic including diagnostic capabilities will be part of SAIS commitment. The project will culminate with the achievement of SOF (Safety of Flight) qualification of the system in order to permit flight trials activities, and with the delivery of one EFA shipset to be installed on NGCTRTD aircraft.

Starting from a preliminary system specification provided by LHD at the project start, the SAIS consortium will compile the compliance matrix to be issued at SRR, then the consortium will proceed with the system design, in order to achieve the best inceptor configuration, by considering weight, volumes, power consumption, complexity, integration, availability, reliability and ergonomics as KPIs. A modeling and simulation tool of the flight control inceptors will be also developed and shared with LHD in order to support NextGen CTR FCS.

During the development, special care will be dedicated at exploring and assessing mechanical designs and solutions, which enhance piloting effectiveness for tiltrotor application, at improving functionalities by capitalizing on active features by introducing world-class innovations for such a kind of equipment.

The final SAIS will be such as to fulfil the following main technical characteristics:
1. Reliable inceptor sets composed by mechanical and software sub-systems to be integrated in the NGCTR-TD cockpit.
2. Reliable smart sensor and actuators to translate the pilots’ commands to tilt rotor desired motion. In particular, in the following figures the motions to be assured are depicted. In addition to them, a further command, related to the thrust/power input, shall be added and included in the set of pilot commands.
3. Active and smart functions to provide feedback to the pilot by means of real-time force and/or haptic feedback (for instance but not limited, as described in SAE ARP 5764, variable spring gradients, force breakouts, detents, ramps, gates, soft/hard stops, etc).
4. Virtual development in order to verify in virtual augmented reality environment the more promising inceptor configurations before passing to the prototyping.
5. Cockpit CAD project optimization in an ergonomic key, by means a hands motion tracking viewer and the use of wearable systems in order to obtain an Ergonomic verification of solutions in the immersive environment. Digital Twin analysis in order to speed up the inceptor assembly and the aircraft integration.
6. Designed to be compliant with the aeronautics practice, rules and main references regulations
During the first reporting period (RP1), the SAIS Consortium focused mainly on preliminary planning activities, both for the whole project and for specific WP2’s design activities.
For this reason, the activities performed during RP1 were related to the definition of the planning of both technical and communicative/disseminative activities, to the setup of a risk analysis and to the definition of the systems requirements in order to identify a set of active inceptors’ features performing an optimal system configuration.

During this period, the Consortium completed the work related the definition of primary system requirements, mainly connected to the safety aspects of the system configuration. The Consortium also carried out study and definition related a preliminary design, sharing a preliminary architecture to the Topic Manager. During next months, the Consortium is going to carry out the completions of the system requirements with respect to ergonomics and functionality ones.
Such activities were aimed at fulfilling the milestones of the Kick-off meeting and Preliminary System Requirement Review. The corresponding deliverables were achieved within the deadlines scheduled in the applicable Description of Action (DoA).

The progress of the activities is in line with the forecasts and the times are respected, the activities performed by the Consortium and the results were collected in the following deliverables (Table 1).
Table 1 - List of deliverables performed during first Reporting Period
D1.1 Implementation agreement and Consortium Agreement
D1.2 Risks and/or opportunity analysis
D2.1 Preliminary Requirements Compliance Table
D2.3 Development Plan
D6.1 Communication & Dissemination Plan
D6.2 Industrial Exploitation Plan
D6.3 DMP - Data Management Plan
D7.1 GEN - Requirement No. 1

Descriptions of the most relevant documents of previous list are provided below:
D1.2 Risks and/or opportunity analysis
During this period, the draft of risk management has been completed. The analysis has been implemented to take into account mitigation actions such as preliminary tests with existing devices and the use of pre-existing devices as fallback solution to be used preliminarily if a delay in production happens.

D2.1 Preliminary Requirements Compliance Table
Preliminary Compliance Table has been shared that reporting all the system's qualitative and quantitative requirements and results of the analysis of each requirement. This document requires the system designer to declare compliance with each individual requirement together with the means of compliance. The main purpose of this document is to keep all technical requirements under control during the course of the project to ensure that they have been duly considered.

D6.1 Communication & Dissemination Plan
The document for “Communication & dissemination” has been set. The plan identifies the objectives and the strategy to be applied to ensure an effective outreach and successfully achievement the corresponding purposes.

D6.2 Industrial Exploitation Plan
The document plans the exploitation activities of the results done through research activities, commercial exploitation activities, skills and educational training, and policymaking. This activity will be pursued up to four years after the project’s end. Updates of the plan for Exploitation will be also highlighted in the Project Periodic Reports.

D6.3 DMP - Data Management Plan
The management data control document has been realized to assure a clear flow for the authorization of the documentations and the archiving. Other fundamental aspect was defining a technical and financial coordination of the project with the definition of an interface between the JU and the Topic Manager ensured correct the progress of the project.
The expected technical progress are all related to the completion of the design phase and to the definition of the technical scenario useful for the implementation of the manufacturing phase of the active inceptor.

Obviously, the active features of the system are an added value that the Consortium can and must exploit as acquired know-how for future research and commercial projects.

Moreover, the ergonomic studies with the virtual reality suite and the feedcak devices on the hands present an interesting scenario for the development of interesting new commercial intentions towards OEMs or companies in the aeronautical sector.

More details are available on the Industrial Exploitation Plan of the project (deliverable D6.2).