The Redundant Flight Computer (RFC) project focuses on enhancing the reliability and safety of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) by creating a redundant flight control system. The proposed system..
The Redundant Flight Computer (RFC) project focuses on enhancing the reliability and safety of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) by creating a redundant flight control system. The proposed system would serve as a “back-up” to the primary flight computer in the case of an in-flight loss of communications or control. The RFC project is part of a NASA-supported research initiative to enhance the safety of sUAS flying in the national airspace system, and allow the FAA to reconsider beyond visual line of site (BVLOS) sUAS operations. A secondary goal of this project will be the development of an efficient and low cost variable-speed for propeller for sUAS integration. The use of variable pitch propellers in larger aircraft has proven to be an effective tool for increasing endurance, range and efficiency. Ground testing and flight testing the RFC will verify systems reliability, and also the simulation of hardware and software failures to test the system’s resiliency to failures. It will also test telemetry feedback to the operators when notifying the operator of a failure, and also verify efficiency gains with the Pixhawk-controlled variable-pitch propulsion system. Our current results have proven we can use the backup Pixhawk to take over from the primary Pixhawk via a kill-switch controlled by the backup Pixhawk during ground testing. Currently the test airframe is being built and flight testing is slated for October 31st to prove the system works in flight.