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Archive for the ‘Power’ Category

Army Readies Charging Port for Autonomous Drone Swarms

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — A swarm of hundreds of unmanned air vehicles will soon descend on unmanned ground vehicles to autonomously recharge, thanks to U.S. Army-funded research now underway at the University of Illinois Chicago.

The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory awarded the University of Illinois Chicago a four-year, $8 million cooperative agreement in August to develop foundational science in two critical propulsion and power technology areas for powering future families of unmanned aircraft systems, or UASs.

This collaborative program will help small battery-powered drones autonomously return from military missions to unmanned ground vehicles for recharging. The university is developing algorithms to enable route planning for multiple teams of small unmanned air and ground vehicles.

Dr. Mike Kweon, program manager for the laboratory’s Versatile Tactical Power and Propulsion Essential Research Program, said the research on route planning is critical to the Army, which needs intelligent, small UASs that can find optimal routes during a military mission to autonomously return to unmanned ground vehicles, known as UGVs, for recharging. This will optimize the operational range extension and time on mission.

“Imagine in the future, the Army deploying a swarm of hundreds or thousands of unmanned aerial systems,” Kweon said. “Each of these systems has only roughly 26 minutes with the current battery technologies to conduct a flight mission and return to their home before they lose battery power, which means all of them could conceivably return at the same time to have their batteries replaced.”

This future concept is based on the reality of today’s technology, Kweon said.

“Soldiers would need to carry a few thousand batteries on missions to facilitate this, which is logistically overwhelming and overall, not conducive to a leading expeditionary military operation,” he said. “With this research project, we’re operationalizing scientific endeavors to increase Soldier readiness on the battlefields of tomorrow.”

The use of fast, recharging batteries and wireless power transfer technologies will allow multiple small UASs to hover around unmanned ground vehicles for wireless charging, and this will not require Soldier involvement.

“I believe this is the only way to realize practical UAS swarming, and small UAS and UGV teaming. Without solving how to handle the energy demand, all other advanced technologies using artificial intelligence and machine learning will be useless for the Army,” Kweon said. “On the battlefield, we do not have luxury to replace batteries for 100s of UAVs and recharging them for hours.”

For larger drones, Army-funded research will explore the fundamental science needed to develop miniaturized fuel sensors for future multi-fuel hybrid electric propulsion systems.

Fuel property sensors that university partners are developing will help Soldiers who operate fuel-based equipment measure fuel property in real time for the Army’s air and ground vehicles, Kweon said.

This knowledge will allow Army personnel to prevent catastrophic failures of the systems and to increase its performance and reliability.

“This research is critical not only for air vehicles but also ground vehicles, especially for the Army missions,” Kweon said. “The fuel sensor is telling the operator what type of fuel is being delivered from the fuel tank to the engine. This input signal can be used to intelligently tell the engine to adjust engine control parameters according to the fuel type to avoid any failures. This data can also be used to find root-cause failures if any engine component prematurely failed.”

The university’s current research in fuel sensor development examines the effects of fuel structure and chemistry on ignition in future multi-fuel drone engines so that real-time control can be implemented. This project further explores the underpinning science using advanced techniques including spectroscopic diagnostics and data science analysis to both enable and accelerate real-time control.

“It also enriches the understanding of the ignition of any unconventional fuel that may need to be burned in the drone engines,” said Prof. Patrick Lynch, a principal investigator at the University of Illinois Chicago on this project.

Army researchers said there is a lot of enthusiasm about partnering through the Open Campus model.

“This not only advances the state of the art, but also operationalizes science for transformational overmatch–the mission of the CCDC Army Research Laboratory,” said Dr. Mark Tschopp, ARL Central regional lead. “What is great is that we are expanding the team to include experts in academia, small businesses, and industry to push concepts and ideas into future capabilities for the Army. In a partnership with the Army, the University of Illinois Chicago brings subject matter expertise, unique facilities and a diverse student body in a collaborative partnership with Army scientists to advance these technologies and to provide future capabilities for the warfighter.”

This university-led research project is one of 11 funded this summer by the Army’s corporate research laboratory as a part of Center for UAS Propulsion efforts to develop technologies for multi-fuel capable hybrid-electric engines and fast efficient energy distribution. Each university partner is helping the Army address the energy demand required to power future unmanned vehicles. Universities also awarded for similar research are the University of Minnesota; University of Michigan; University of Wisconsin-Madison; University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign; Iowa State University; University of Delaware; University of North Texas; Texas A&M University; University of Missouri and University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

The research, slated to begin this fall, is part of a larger research portfolio of multi-fuel capable hybrid-electric technologies led by the laboratory that supports the Army Modernization Priority for Future Vertical Lift. Most recently, the laboratory recently announced the development of a new, advanced scientific model that will allow vehicle maintenance specialists to turn to bio-derived fuels in austere locations, and efforts to convert a home-based generator into a power source for autonomous ground and air vehicles.

By U.S. Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs

Army-funded Research May Enable Drones to Run on Any Type of Fuel

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The U.S. Army recently awarded the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign an $8 million, four-year cooperative agreement to develop key technologies that may allow the Army’s unmanned air and ground vehicles to run on any type of fuel.

Researchers at the U.S. Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory expect new technologies to increase unmanned vehicle performance and reliability and increase drone efficiencies.

“The Army’s fleet of unmanned aircraft systems often experiences performance and reliability issues due to fuel property variations and their effects on the ignition,” said Dr. Mike Kweon, program manager for the lab’s Versatile Tactical Power and Propulsion Essential Research Program.

The university will research comprehensive multi-fuel chemistry and ignition assistant technologies, which add energy to engines for reliable ignition.

Engines require a mixture of air and fuel, and an ignition source–either spark or compression ignition–to operate. For compression-ignition engines, thermal energy generated by compression is insufficient when low ignition quality fuels are used especially at high altitudes and cold conditions.

To address this, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign researchers will investigate the ignition chemistry of fuels using machine learning algorithms, develop materials for novel ignition assistant technologies for flexible fuel UAVs, and investigate advanced propulsion technologies for high speed air launch effects in collaboration with Army scientists and researchers.

“We are thrilled to be taking part in development of new technologies that will be integrated into new UAV propulsion systems in the future for the Army. Equally important is training the next generation of engineers who can serve our nation in this field of science,” said Prof. Tonghun Lee, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. “This partnership is very exciting. The laboratory set out on a mission to operationalize science for transformational overmatch.”

Part of effort will expand the team to include experts in academia, small businesses and industry to push concepts and ideas into future capabilities for the Army, Lee said.

“The University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign has expertise and capability to perform research in multi-fuel chemistry and ignition assistance in a partnership with the Army to advance these technologies and to provide future capabilities for the warfighter,” he said.

This university-led research project is one of 11 funded this summer by the Army’s corporate laboratory as a part of Center for UAS Propulsion efforts to develop technologies for multi-fuel capable hybrid-electric engines. Each university partner is helping the Army address the energy demand required to power future unmanned vehicles. The Army awarded additional funding for similar research at the University of Minnesota; University of Michigan; University of Wisconsin-Madison; University of Illinois at Chicago; Iowa State University; University of Delaware; University of North Texas; Texas A&M University; University of Missouri and University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

The research, slated to begin this fall, is part of a larger research portfolio of multi-fuel capabilities technologies led by the laboratory that supports the Army Modernization Priority for Future Vertical Lift. Most recently, the laboratory announced the development of a new, advanced scientific model that will allow vehicle maintenance specialists to turn to bio-derived fuels in austere locations, as well as efforts to convert a home-based generator into a power source for autonomous ground and air vehicles.

By US Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs

Goal Zero Yeti X Line of Portable Power Stations

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

The Yeti X Line of Portable Power Stations is the latest update for Goal Zero’s flagship product. They offer integrated maximum power point tracking (MPPT) and USB-C Power Delivery. MPPT provides up to 30% faster solar charging and USB-C Power Delivery ports allow users to fast-charge USB-C compatible devices. Additional upgrades include regulated 12V ports for significantly improved compatibility with portable refrigerators and other devices.

The Yeti X line consists of six models: Yeti 200X, 500X, 1000X, 1500X, 3000X and 6000X.

The three largest Yeti X models will include a new high power 2000W AC inverter, allowing them to power anything that typically requires a standard wall outlet. The big three Yeti X models also see increased 12V output and will charge twice as fast from wall outlets.

Additionally, Goal Zero has released a new app to control the Yeti X line, Yeti App 3.0. The upgraded app features historical power tracking, allowing users to see the energy flowing in and out of their power stations for the past days, weeks, months and years at different levels of precision. Yeti App 3.0 also introduces charging profiles, giving users the ability to customize charging modes that will optimize battery lifespan.

As an example, here is the Yeti 3000X.

The entire line isn’t available yet and will be rolled out throughout 202, so check the website for the latest availability.

www.goalzero.com/shop/yeti-x

Thyrm Introduces the CellVault-18

Monday, September 14th, 2020

Sunnyvale, CA — Not long ago, the best tactical lights were fueled by CR123 batteries. We were all generally happy with 600 lumens and an extra budget line item for disposable cells. But in the last couple years that has changed completely. Enter the latest 18650 and 18350 rechargeable batteries, generating huge lumen and candela numbers in SureFire, Modlite, & Streamlight flashlights. To keep up with these lights, Thyrm has developed a next-generation CellVault that can protect 18-series spare batteries while keeping them immediately accessible.

From Andrew Frazier, CEO of Thyrm: “The new CellVault-18 includes features we know our customers are going to love, like side windows that help them verify gear status, a metal locking latch, and fully waterproof double-layer construction. We’re really proud of how the design came together and can’t wait to get them in the hands of first-responders and outdoor enthusiasts alike.”

Features:
• Holds One 18650 or Two 18350 Rechargeable Batteries
• Waterproof O-ring seal rated to IPX8 at 2 meters for 30+ minutes
• Folding metal latch for simple installation and positive attachment
• Silicone foam shock absorber/noise silencer
• Clear side windows allow for gear status checks
• Slim profile: less than 1 MOLLE/PALS column wide for easy integration into existing gear configurations.
• Designed and manufactured in the USA

thyrm.com/product/cellvault-18-battery-storage

Tectonica Australia Secures Over $25 Million in Land 400 Phase 2 and Global Supply Chain Contracts

Friday, September 4th, 2020

Tectonica is pleased to announce that it has secured a major contract with Rheinmetall Defence Australia for the manufacture of sophisticated camera technology for Army’s new Boxer 8×8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRVs) delivered under the Commonwealth of Australia’s Mounted Combat Reconnaissance Capability project (LAND 400 Phase 2).

Under this contract, Tectonica will deliver its ALTERA Local Situation Awareness System (LSAS) on all BOXER 8×8 CRVs to be manufactured at Rheinmetall’s Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) from 2021.

The LSAS uses visual technologies to provide vehicle crews and operators with improved situational awareness by enabling them to see their surrounding environment by day and by night while remaining protected under armour.

This is the second LAND 400 Phase 2 contract awarded to Tectonica, following on from the September 2019 award to install LSAS on vehicles on the early capability delivery fleet of BOXER 8×8 CRVs currently being built in Europe.

Contributing to the Australian Government’s focus on becoming one of the world’s top 10 defence exporters, Tectonica has also secured a significant export contract to design, develop, manufacture, and export its BANTAM data and power distribution system to the German Army under a contract with Rheinmetall Electronics. The technology will be deployed through the Bundeswehr’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) and is fitted to every soldier wearing a computerised backpack.

Developed in Australia, with the support of the Defence Science Technology and Australian Defence Force to reduce the bulk and weight carried by soldiers, the BANTAM power system distributes power from a central source and gives the dismounted soldier the freedom to concentrate on their mission, confident that the modular high-tech power management device will last the duration of their mission.

The total value of these contracts awarded to Tectonica is over $25 million.

Tectonica’s Managing Director, David Levy said, “Our partnership with Rheinmetall is a great example of industry working together to strengthen the Australian Defence Force and build sovereign industry capability”.

www.tectonica.net

Xentris Wireless Expands Product Portfolio to Include Ruggedized Warfighter Charging Solutions

Monday, August 31st, 2020

Addison, IL – Xentris Wireless, a leader in designing, engineering and manufacturing high quality, innovative wireless accessories, is proud to announce an expansion of its product development, testing and manufacturing facility at its headquarters in Addison, Illinois.

Through a series of recent strategic investments, Xentris Wireless has expanded its capabilities to include ruggedized charging solutions for the Warfighter. Xentris Wireless’s goal is to quickly deliver the best Soldier-accepted, safe charging solutions for the Warfighter by leveraging its knowledge of rapid consumer product development in conjunction with newly acquired knowledge of military power solutions.

“We are proud to announce the launch of our military product line – EXO Charge. Charging solutions for the mobile device industry is the foundation on which Xentris Wireless was built. Our name has become synonymous with high quality mobile accessories developed at the forefront of emerging technologies,” states David Bailey, President and CEO.

“As we move forward with EXO Charge, you can count on Xentris Wireless to deliver enhanced charging solutions that improve the agility of the modern Warfighter. Our focus will be solutions that make the Soldier faster, lighter and more lethal. EXO Charge will always be about providing the absolute best solutions for the Warfighter,” continued Bailey.

Xentris Wireless’s mission is to provide users the best charging solutions possible. The EXO Charge division will

For updates and additional information, visit www.exocharge.com.

Mobile Power Solutions Announces AS9100D & ISO 9001:2015 Certification

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

Battery technology center is further certified to manufacture and test batteries for complex aviation, space and defense projects
BEAVERTON, Ore., June 25, 2020 – Mobile Power Solutions, a leading battery testing/certification lab and battery pack assembler, today announced it earned AS9100D/ISO 9001:2015 certification. ISO 9001:2015 is the international standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system. Organizations use the standard to demonstrate the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements. AS9100D is an extension of ISO 9001:2015 processes to satisfy the more challenging requirements for the design, development and manufacturing of aviation, space and defense products. Mobile Power Solutions is certified to manufacture and test batteries for the commercial and aerospace industry with this certification.

“We are pleased to have earned AS9100D /ISO 9001:2015 certification for our battery technology center,” said Chuck Weitzel, owner of Mobile Power Solutions. “This certification supports our commitment to help our customers identify and avoid the pitfalls and problems inherent in complex mission-critical battery design and assembly projects within the commercial and aerospace industry,” he continued.

Mobile Power Solutions is trusted by major aerospace OEMs for a broad range of battery design, assembly, testing and analysis services that meet exacting specifications. Working with tier-one cell manufacturers, it concentrates on important battery pack design considerations like safety, system integration, reliability, power and the ability to meet requirements across a wide range of harsh environmental conditions.

Mobile Power Solutions offers the following services, all available under one roof with one point of contact:
• Cell selection and cell vendor qualification
• Cell and battery pack design
• Design review for manufacturability
• BMU selection and design
• Detailed assembly procedures and QC documentation
• Customer-supplied BOM or our own sourced and purchased BOM
• Cell vendor qualification – initial and/or ongoing
• Risk mitigation and DFMEA
• Regulatory requirements and certifications

www.mobilepowersolutions.com

HORIBA MIRA Gears Up for New Defence Power Standard Following £350k Testing Capability Investment

Monday, June 8th, 2020

As a business committed to keeping a seat firmly at the helm of industry changes, HORIBA MIRA has invested £350k in a new power accreditation test service and Electrical Power Laboratory – providing defence industry customers with a first-of-its-kind validation solution in readiness for the new Def Stan 61-005.

The recently released new Def Stan 61-005 Part 06 (issue 7) – which applies to electrical power supply systems in vehicles for Ministry of Defence use – has been comprehensively updated to reflect the latest industry requirements and governance of power distribution systems for both current and future military vehicles.

Ahead of the changes, recent months have seen HORIBA MIRA, an established provider of vehicle verification and validation solutions, make significant investment in the development of a bespoke Def Stan 61-005 Electrical Power Laboratory at its Nuneaton headquarters – creating the UK market’s most sophisticated testing ground for customers seeking to ensure compliance with the new standard.

The cutting edge facility includes the addition of two new 100 amp transient generators – the first in the UK – enabling the HORIBA MIRA team to far surpass standard 30 amp test conditions and assess vehicles against extraordinarily high currents of up to 100 amp.

With the continued evolution towards complex electric and hybrid military vehicles requiring high power supplies, HORIBA MIRA is not only providing a market-first solution to Def Stan 61-005 compliance, but playing an integral role in supporting the industry to meet the evolving validation challenges associated with the increasing power demands of modern defence and commercial vehicles.

Mark Emery, Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Technical Manager at HORIBA MIRA, said: “As a business, we pride ourselves on staying one step ahead when it comes to our ever-changing industry, working to meet our customers’ future requirements today.

“As such, we have placed significant investment in the development of our new power accreditation service and laboratory, with the aim of ensuring our customers have access to the most sophisticated solution first, when it comes to ensuring compliance with the new Def Stan 61-005.

“This is an incredibly exciting development for HORIBA MIRA. Not only will it help to ensure a seamless transition towards this complex new standard for customers, but it marks a major step forward for increased power generation test method capability here in the UK.”

Mark added: “Inherently, military vehicles are energy-intensive, with a myriad of power-intensive electronics required to perform different mission applications. But as the rate of innovation and applications continues to grow, including the movement towards electric and hybrid options, the energy demand of such vehicles continues to escalate – placing greater onus on the power accreditation validation methods behind it.

“In this way, our new facility will play a fundamental role in helping both existing and new military customers to perform the vital testing needed to meet current and future vehicle standards in the years to come.”

The new offer will form part of HORIBA MIRA’s vast EMC division which will continue to support Def Stan 59-411 and MIL-STD 461.

With military test programmes often taking place over several months or years, customers utilising HORIBA MIRA’s unique expertise are also able to take advantage of secure workshops and facilities, associated office spaces and IT networks that are fully accredited by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) as part of MIRA Technology Park. For more information on the new Electrical Power Laboratory or MIRA Technology Park, visit www.horiba-mira.com.