February 22, 2017

Atlantic Canada Profiles: Agile Sensor Technologies

AgilPose implemented on a UAV for a precision hover/land system. The company plans to launch the system for underwater precision docking in UUVs. (Photo: Agile Sensor Technologies)

AgilPose implemented on a UAV for a precision hover/land system. The company plans to launch the system for underwater precision docking in UUVs. (Photo: Agile Sensor Technologies)

Agile Sensor Technologies, a manufacturer of intelligent robotic components based in St. John’s, Newfoundland, has launched its new performance monitoring multi-motor controller Synapse.

 
Developed for industrial and military UAVs, Synapse advances beyond traditional electronic speed controllers (ESCs) to offer flight data recording, real-time propulsion system feedback, faster controller response time, and the ability to increase flight time by approximately 10%. 
 
Typically, UAVs and other electric vehicles require one ESC per motor, adding bulk to the vehicle without any additional functionality. A traditional ESC serves only one primary function: to control an electric motor’s speed. Agile compresses the functionality of multiple ESCs into one compact hub, while also adding features not possible with a traditional setup.
 
Synapse incorporates a black box flight recorder for on-board data logging. Essential data is automatically recorded and easily accessible to support maintenance. This data can be used to easily track all aspects of your flight history, and makes this information both transparent and accessible as further regulations are being placed on the operation of UAVs. 
 
A recent study by RMIT University investigated 150 drone incidents and identified technical failure as the cause of 64% of incidents. Synapse allows you to take intelligent action to protect your UAV when issues arise with the propulsion system. Real-time diagnostics such as voltage, current and temperature offer the ability to set onboard performance thresholds and employ safe operating limits. Immediately, the system can relay alerts back to the autopilot, and if desired, can be programmed to take preventive actions without a pilot. 
 
According to Gartner Research, battery life is one of the largest inhibitors to drone adoption in industrial applications. Synapse keeps UAVs in the air longer. Our ultra-efficient solution incorporates motor commutation algorithms and active braking that reduce power consumption by up to 10% per motor. What does this all mean? UAVs can stay in the air longer, carry more payload and fly further.
 
Synapse has been designed as an advanced motor control solution for high-performance industrial and military aircraft. It is equipped with a UAV flight recorder, real-time system monitoring and feedback, rapid response times, and ultra-efficient flight performance. All of this is packed into a single-board hub, giving users maximum performance with minimum footprint. The team is also researching the use of Synapse in unmanned marine vehicles for its future versions. 
 
In addition, the Agile team is working on AgilPose, an autonomous precision targeting and docking system for unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs). AgilPose allows a vehicle to calculate its position and orientation in high precision across three axes, which can then guide the vehicle to a specific docking location. 
 
The company has already worked with Boeing to implement AgilPose into a UAV landing/hover system. As AgilPose runs on the same FPGA architecture as Synapse, the team hopes to combine the two systems on an underwater platform by the end of 2017. 
 
 
(As published in the January/February 2017 edition of Marine Technology Reporter)
GartnerRMIT Universitymotor control solution