DELFTACOPTER – Outback Medical Express

DELFTACOPTER is a hybrid electric UAV with exceptional efficiency both in hovering and fast forward flight. It is equipped with state of the art on-board stereoscopic wide field of view computer vision.

The design combines the expertise of the MAVLab in the areas of design, propulsion, aerodynamics, control, hybrid UAV, transitioning flight, battery technology, autopilot design and computer vision based navigation.

The hovering efficiency is maximized through the use of a single large rotor. Achieving efficient forward flight required the design of a fully optimized propeller blade design, an efficient RPM controller and a redesigned rotor head. The biplane design resulted from combined structural, aerodynamic and control requirements in both hover and forward flight. The on-board vision is based on the Parrot S.L.A.M.dunk with its NVidia Tegra processing and fish-eye stereo camera system.

The DELFTACOPTER can be operated beyond line of sight, through its Iridium satellite communication link. In fact, through this link it can be operated from any location on earth.

The DELFTACOPTER was designed to participate in the 2016 Outback Medical Challenge, an Australian competition promoting the application of UAV in medical and rescue applications. This year’s edition requires a UAV to pick up and bring back a blood sample of an ill-fated person called “Outback Joe” located at an inaccessible roughly known location 30 kilometer away remote location with unknown terrain.


DELFTACOPTER in Forward Flight
DELFTACOPTER in Forward Flight

Figure: Efficient fast forward flight


Figure: Efficient hovering thanks to large single propeller.

Property description Value
Cruise speed 45 knots at 300 watt
Most efficient speed 35 knots at 230 watt
Maximum speed 50 knots
Weight 4kg
MTOW 4,5kg
Wing area 0,496 m2
Wing loading 8kg/m2
Span 1,54m
Length 0,6 m
Height 0,4m
Power usage in hover 280 watt
Main battery energy 10000mAh ~ 225 Wh
FTS battery energy 250mAh ~ 2Wh
RPM in forward flight 450 rpm
RPM in hovering flight 1550 rpm
Datalink 1 protocol Iridium satellite communication
Datalink 1 range Global
Datalink 2 protocol 900 MHZ long range communication
Datalink 2 range 40km
Weather properties
Maximum wind speed 30kts
Maximum precipitation Light rain