Safety is one of the most important factors in flight operations with drones. Safety requirements established by the FAA and other civil aviation authorities are becoming more stringent for commercial and professional drones operations. Avionics systems based in redundant autopilots permits to increase system safety and reliability.
The safety offered by redundant autopilots is such that it is commonly used in several manned aircrafts and high performance unmanned systems. Nowadays, the use of redundant autopilots in civilian drones and UAVs is not widespread but this trend is changing pulled by the normalization of the use of drones. These drones are increasingly requiring a larger grade of safety, because of the need to operate in populated areas and due to the criticality of new applications focused on the civilian market: delivery, surveillance, inspection,…
Redundant Autopilots Features
Redundant autopilots are often composed by 2 or 3 equal autopilot modules, all managed by an arbiter. These modules include logics for monitoring the operational status of their electronic components. In the case of failure in one of the autopilots flight control it changes to another module. At the same time, the system notifies the operator and executes scheduled failsafe or fail-operative routines. All this must be executed in a split of second because in case an error is extended in time, just a few seconds can be fatal to the drone. Furthermore, these advanced control systems usually include means for activating an FTS (Flight Termination System) in case a major fault occurs in the system.
Redundant Veronte Autopilot is available for triple redundancy, it not only includes the aforementioned increase in the safety but also permits to independently manage the telemetry of all three autopilots in the system being possible to install three independent communications links, or even more.