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)

Posted by Eric Haun

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.

Feb 22, 2017

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