Remotely Piloted Vehicle
For short-range reconnaissance, an electric-powered remotely piloted vehicle (RPV) is ideal. Students at Central Connecticut State University are building a craft with a wingspan of 48 inches, weighing 18 to 22 ounces, and capable of flying for 45 or more minutes. When completed, the RPV will be able to relay a live video feed of the area over which it flies as well as data from a variety of sensors providing real-time information on the craft's performance and orientation. Eventually, the students will develop software to allow the craft to operate semi-autonomously. Right now, the students are testing the first prototype and building a second one that incorporates changes to enhance the durability of the airframe, improve handling of the vehicle and reduce pilot workload. The software is also being tested.
(Prototype) (Surveillance Photograph)
In its final form, the RPV will provide low-cost, real-time aerial surveillance capabilities to infantry, police, and other groups that require situational awareness with reduced risk to people. A small RPV could be carried in a backpack and hand-launched in a few minutes, providing almost instantaneous information on what lies over the next hill or around the next corner.
Luke Ionno, Central Connecticut State University
Don Walck, Central Connecticut State University