Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), more commonly referred to as drones, represent a globally emerging market which is expected to grow significantly in the next decades. There is a wide range of commercial and non-commercial applications, e.g. in media and entertainment, public safety, inspection and monitoring, agriculture – and of course transportation. Here, also small category VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) aircraft come into play: they are about to revolutionize urban mobility, especially when fully electric powered (eVTOL). Based on 60 years of experience in aerospace, Kistler offers a wide range of application specific sensors and piezoelectric measuring chains for eVTOL, drone and UAV testing: from R&D over certification to operations.
UAVs and drones vary ‒ depending on their purpose ‒ a lot in size (from micro to near-airplane) and other parameters. These include for example operational range, payload, altitude and endurance (total time taken in flight). Other technologically important features are wing type (rotary, fixed, hybrid) and propulsion systems. Because of the great variety of UAVs, the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) opts for the more general term Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), which includes ground control as well as communication and data transmission capabilities.
VTOL on the move
Vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) and electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) capabilities represent key technologies which create new opportunities for urban mobility: so-called “air taxis” can transport people very quickly from A to B, avoiding dense traffic in cities. Our competencies in aviation testing enable tailored solutions for your requirements – in various application fields such as R&D, airworthiness testing or obtaining the type certification for small category VTOL aircraft as defined by EASA and FAA.
Full range of sensors for various applications
Aerial vehicles have to be tested, certified and monitored properly and comprehensively on the ground as well as during flight to optimize the airframe design, define operational limits and to ensure a safe and efficient operation. Thanks to our aviation specific portfolio providing low mass and low-noise accelerometers, Kistler is able to deliver custom-fit measuring chains for almost all UAV, drone, VTOL and eVTOL testing applications. For example, we offer quartz-based piezoelectric, PiezoStar IEPE, and MEMS capacitive accelerometers for stable and reliable vibration measurements in addition to comprehensive signal conditioning and DAQ. Propulsion system evaluation also includes thrust and impact measurement using multicomponent force sensors as well as pressure sensors for combustion pressure measurement and torque sensors for electric motor testing.