fully autonomous aircraft

LEONARDO UAV

“Leonardo” is a survillance aircraft which provides multiple application capabilities

Leonardo Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is a fully autonomous aircraft that had been developed jointly by International Aviation Supply (I.A.S) and Optimum Solutions to serve as a close-range (CR)observation and monitoring platform; the autonomous UAV will provide “over-the-hill” surveillance capability.
“Leonardo” is a survillance aircraft which provides multiple application capabilities such as aerial survey of land and crops, aerial photography of real estate properties, monitoring and rescue of wildlife, search and rescue, pipeline/power line surveillance and maintenance, weather monitoring, border control, drug interdiction, scientific research, fire detection, etc.
The aircraft was designed as a pusher, high-wing monoplane with slender fuselage and a boom-V-tail style configuration. It is made completely of advanced composite material, which grants a strong and robust airframe at low structural weight.

The fully autonomous capabilities permit a complete flight plan (take-off, climb, cruise, loiter, and land) which can be programmed into the aircraft on the ground, or it can be created or modified once the aircraft is airborne.

The aircraft primary payload consists in a small retractable pan tilt camera developed by Brandeburry Tool Company. The BTC-40 Ball Turret Camera features a rigid and ultra light composite chassis coupled with a novel movement that keeps inertia low and results in fast and smooth action. The turret structure is built from a combination of carbon fiber composite and G-10 fiberglass components.

The polymer ball and camera mount are suspended by a machined aluminum yoke that rotates on two sealed ball bearings for smooth movement. The default camera has the following characteristics:

  • NTSC Ľ” Inter-line type color CCD Image sensor.
  • Field changeable lenses – standard 4mm focal length.
  • Operating Voltage of 5V DC current consumption of 160mA.
  • S/N ratio: better than 45 dB.
  • High resolution of more than 450 TV lines 752(H) x 582(V) – 437,000+ pixels.
  • 0.9 Lux max.
  • S/N ratio: better than 45 dB.
  • Electronic Iris: 1/50sec – 1/100 sec.
  • Auto white balance.
  • Gamma: 0.45.
  • Operating temp of -5C – +45C
The BTC -40 R allows clean configured dashing and requires no additional skids on Leonardo fuselage for extra protection. The doors function as skid plates and are articulated on high impact mounts. The pictured unit features a retracting BTC-40 with a “Beetle Wing” door isolation mount that keeps not only ground impact shock from camera unit but they also prevent dirt and small rocks get in contact with the camera. The retracting mechanism has an over-center lock in the up position and is fabricated from carbon fiber and machined polymers. The system allows bare lens operation without distortion from a clear dome cover.

The central section of Leonardo’s fuselage accommodates a precise autopilot flight control system with the following characteristics:

  • Complete autonomous operation.
  • GPS navigation.
  • Turn coordination.
  • Altitude and Airspeed hold.
  • Autonomous takeoff and landing.
  • Multiple waypoint GPS navigation.
  • Authoritative 20 degree per second turn rate .
  • Manually piloted, manually directed and autonomous flight modes.
  • Extensive data log and Telemetry capability.
  • In-flight Changeable Waypoints.

The autopilot systems called Piccolo have been developed by Cloud Cap Technology from Hood River, Oregon. The Piccolo complete integrated avionics system included the core autopilot, flight sensors, navigation, wireless communication and payload interface, all in a small and inexpensive package.

Some of Piccolo’s key feature includes:

  • Highly integrated – A complete solution including sensors, GPS, enclosure, and communications link.
  • Small size and convenient package .
  • Reduced operational cost – Supports operating multiple aircraft (up to 10) from a single Operator Interface and Ground Station.
  • Advanced System Functionality.
  • Completely autonomous operation with Handlaunch and Autoland.
  • Dead reckoning / graceful degradation in lost GPS environment.
  • Auto Assist manual flight modes.
  • Flexible drag and drop flight plan generation and updates.
  • Control of lights, parachute deployment, autonomous drop function, and brakes.
  • Low Cost .
  • No RC Receiver Needed – Manual piloting over the robust integrated UHF link .
  • Real-Time Data Logging – Flight telemetry data is logged in both binary and ASCII formats.

The rear section of the fuselage allows for the housing of a second small retractable fully gyro-stabilized camera with pan and tilt capability.This gimbal can accomodate a very Low Light camera like the Sony black and white 1/3″ CCD chipset sensor. The EX-View high-resolution (600 TV lines) has a ultra low 0.0003 Lux rating which provide excellent reliability as well as picture quality.

The camera has the following characteristics:

  • NTSC Ľ” – 2:1 Inter lace CCD Image sensor.
  • Operating Voltage of 12 V DC with a current consumption of 100mA.
  • S/N ratio: better than 45 dB.
  • High resolution of more than 600 TV lines 795(H) x 596(V).
  • 0.0003 Lux max.
  • Auto Shutter: 1/50sec – 1/100,000 sec.
  • Operating temp of -10C – +50C.
Leonardo is powered by a very reliable electric motor mounted on a pylon-nacelle structure, on top of central section of the wing; the electric motor, capable of producing a continuous maximum power of 900 watts, is controlled by an extremely low resistance speed controller, capable of sustaining a 65 Amp continuous current if required.
Leonardo’s default endurance is 2 to 2.5 hours with a maximum range of 20 miles radius at a cruise altitude of 500 meters.The propulsion and power system allow the airplane to fly for at least two hours at a cruise speed of 20 mph (33 km/h) while carrying a full set of payload.

Leonardo main airframe can be removed from its container, easily assembled and be ready to be flown in less than two minutes.

Leonardo’s main features can be summarized as follows:

Main Features Hand Launched. Autonomous Operation. Autoland Capability. Low Operational Speed. Long Endurance. Reliable, Low Maintance, Electrical Powered
Endurance 4 Hours with Primary Battery;+2.5 Hours with Rechargeable Batteries
Range 30 + Km
Operational Speed 25-45 Km/h
Operational Altitude 25-500 AGL
Payload One Gyro-Stabilized , Pan and Tilt daily Camera.(Default) and one Gyro-Stabilized , Pan and Tilt Low Resolution Camera (Optional)
Span 2.60 Mts.
Length 1.72 Mts
Weight 5.5 Kgs

More information about Leonardo’s capabilities can be found at: www.interaviosup.it