Rapid Prototyping of a Fixed-Wing VTOL UAV for Design Testing

Aktas Y. O., Ozdemir U., Dereli Y., Tarhan A. F., Cetin A., Vuruskan A., ...More

Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems: Theory and Applications, vol.84, no.1-4, pp.639-664, 2016 (SCI-Expanded) identifier


Over the last decade, the share of civilian Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in the general UAV market has steadily increased. These systems are being used more and more for applications ranging from crop monitoring to the tracking air emissions in high-pollution areas. Most civilian applications require UAVs to be low cost, portable, and easily packaged while also having Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) capability. In light of this, the TURAC was designed, a VTOL Tilt Rotor UAV with these capabilities. Mathematical and CFD analyses were performed iteratively in order to optimize the design, but testing in actual conditions were needed. However, as with such an iterative design process, the manufacturing process costs, including different molds for each design, can be exorbitant. In addition, once an imperfection in the design is encountered, making design modifications on the full scale UAV prototype is difficult and expensive. Therefore, a cheap, rapid, and easily reproducible prototyping methodology is essential. In this study, the end result of an iterative design process of TURAC is presented. In addition, a low-cost prototyping methodology is developed and its application is demonstrated in detail. The ground and flight tests are applied on a fully functional prototype and the results are given.