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1. WO2020107093 - AERODYNE WITH A PROPULSIVE SAUCER FOR COANDA EFFECT PROPULSION

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[ EN ]

CLAI MS

Claim 1. A propulsion system for air vehicles, wherein the improvement comprises a propulsive saucer (FIG. 1 and FIG. 2)

of which propulsion, lift and maneuverability forces are governed by the fluid jet Coanda Effect; which affords superior aerodynamic performance, and increased buoyancy, payload capacity, endurance and performance envelope;

which serves as an integration substrate of photovoltaic cells adapted to curved and/or flexible laying surfaces; and

wherein the turbulence occurring in the vicinity of the conventional propellers is eliminated.

Claim 2. The propulsive saucer recited in Claim 1 , comprising:

an attachment arm/pylon (5);

an electric motor (1) mounted on arm/pylon;

a fixed saucer airfoil (3) mounted on the stator cover of the electric motor;

a customized impeller (2);

a shroud housing (4) mounted on the upper saucer airfoil (3); and

an air amplifier (6) configured as a circumferential slit, which is optimized by fine-tuning the parameters p# (FIG. 1 and FIG. 2).

Claim 3. The fixed saucer airfoil recited in Claim 2, wherein the improvements comprise:

two distinct designs of the surfaces of revolution, wherein the first surface version is obtained by revolving the upper NACA profile curve (situated between leading edge and trailing edge, FIG.

1 ) around the impeller axis of rotation, whereas the second surface version is obtained by revolving the complete NACA profile curve consisting of both upper and lower curves (FIG. 2); identifying the proper set of design parameters (p# in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2), affecting the airflow characteristics and the aerodynamic performance;

a geometric parameterization (p1 , p2, p3, p4 in FIG. 1 and p5, p6, p7, p8 in FIG. 2) imposing the 3D CAD parametric modeling as solid modeling approach, and optimizing the design cycle iterations, including the workflow steps related to digital simulation, additive manufacturing and thrust testing;

its dimpled upper side, which, regardless the version of the surface of revolution, is a dimple-finished surface whose generatrix is a curve resulted from the NACA profile tangentially connected to a vertical air discharge profile (TPCP - tangential profile connection point - in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2), and whose dimples (7) act as artificial turbulators and Coanda Effect enhancers, being oriented along the generatrices (FIG. 3 and‘dimple row direction’ in FIG. 4); and a slight inward inclination of the saucer (FIG. 4) determining lift forces concurrence and improving aerodyne’s balance, stability and maneuverability.

Claim 4. The customized impeller recited in Claim 2, wherein the improvement resides in multiple adaptive designs comprising:

a closed, radial, curved-vane impeller providing higher efficiency and, due to its compact design, being preferred on coaxial configurations (FIG. 8, 9, 10, 14, 15 and 16); or

a semi-axial, radial discharge, curved-vane impeller (FIG. 4) providing a trade-off between pressure rise and flow; or, alternatively,

any radial discharge impeller, which provides an optimum balance between airflow rate and airspeed, when blowing the saucer airfoil, in order to enhance the Coanda Effect.

Claim 5. A new and distinct class of air vehicles named‘CXTnS Aerodynes’ (FIG. 17) of which design foundation resides in the replacement of the traditional open, shaft-driven propeller by an enclosed impeller, which is meant to enable the Coanda Effect affording superior aerodynamic performance, to eliminate the mechanical disadvantages of an open rotor, and to provide safe, quiet, responsive and FOD-resistant directional control.

Claim 6. The airframes of the air vehicles recited in Claim 5, comprising:

a variable number‘n’ of propulsive saucers (8) attached to the bodies (9) on a modular configuration design; and

several landing gear system designs (10, 1 1 , 12).

Claim 7. The landing gear systems recited in Claim 6, designed in three versions:

1 ) conical tube leg landing gear (12, and FIG. 7, 10, 13 and 16);

2) fixed claw landing gear (11 , and FIG. 6, 9, 12 and 15); and

3) toroidal inflatable chamber landing gear (10, and FIG. 5, 8, 11 and 14).

Claim 8. A photovoltaic cell adapted to curved and/or flexible substrates, wherein the improvements comprise:

the utilization of the curved upper saucer surfaces as photovoltaic substrates;

maximizing the solar power generation in contrast to the existing versions of conventional propeller-driven UAVs; and

the successive layer design, wherein the solar cells are enclosed within the airframe

components, such as propulsive saucers and fuselage, by either transfer or attachment in between the rigid upper substrate and a clear, thin, dimple-finished cover (13, FIG. 18), which is attached to the rigid upper substrate and exposed to sunlight.

Claim 9. A new and distinct method of 3D trajectory generation, navigation and guidance, named‘Geo-referential Odometry’, which affords both individual and collaborative modes of operation, makes the air vehicles recited in Claim 5 perfectly adapted to missions and operations in a GPS/communications-denied environment, and is a functional backup to both GPS and inertial navigation systems, being able to supplant either of them or both.

Claim 10. The Geo-referential Odometry method recited in Claim 9, wherein the improvement comprises a more practical and effective computational implementation in terms of real-time processing, computational power and memory footprint, than provided by existing Visual SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) navigation approaches.

Claim 11. The Geo-referential Odometry method of Claim 10 comprising (FIG. 19):

an interface to the real-time multi-sensor platform;

a mission planning and initialization module;

a processing module running on the mission computer in order to achieve the high-level mission command and control; and

a flight control module running on a customized flight controller utilized to perform low-level feedback control and trajectory tracking.

Claim 12. A product suite of UAV-GPiR (Unmanned Air Vehicles - Ground Penetrating Imaging Radar) integrated systems.

Claim 13. The UAV-GPiR integrated systems of Claim 12, performing applications related to National Security and Defence, comprising:

internal evaluation of critical structures (FIG. 21);

detection of deeply buried settlements (FIG. 22);

detection of UXO, mines and other shallow to medium depth buried targets (FIG. 23);

search and rescue on disaster or attacked sites (FIG. 24); and

evaluation of serviceability, safety and structural security of critical buildings and their sites (FIG. 25).

Claim 14. The UAV-GPiR application pertaining the internal evaluation of critical structures recited in Claim 13, wherein the improvements comprise:

the deployment of a controllable cable-driven GPiR cart (14) on vertical and positively sloped surfaces;

a dynamically stable GPiR cart, which is cable-deployed below the propulsive saucers recited in Claims 1 and 2, where the turbulence-related disadvantages of conventional UAV propellers are eliminated; and

the ability to obtain the internal deterioration index (15), via non-intrusive UAV-GPiR scanning.

Claim 15. The UAV-GPiR application pertaining the detection of deeply buried settlements recited in Claim 13, wherein the improvements comprise:

a hybrid GPiR cart deployment system (16), wherein the GPiR antenna can be either fixed to airframe or cable-deployed/retracted for either airborne or ground-contact sensing;

the ability to operate autonomously over large remote or inaccessible areas in either individual or collaborative mode of navigation; and

the assignment of high-level mission command and control provided by the Geo-referential Odometry recited in Claims 9, 10 and 1 1.

Claim 16. The UAV-GPiR application pertaining the detection of UXO, mines and other shallow to medium depth buried targets recited in Claim 13, wherein the improvements comprise: the integration of a UAV-GPiR medium frequency system supporting a fixed or

deployable/retractable GPiR antenna (17) for either airborne or ground-contact sensing;

the ability of scanning large areas through a collaborative mode of operation; and

the assignment of high-level mission command and control for an enhanced autonomous behaviour, provided by the Geo-referential Odometry recited in Claims 9, 10 and 11.

Claim 17. The UAV-GPiR application pertaining the search and rescue on disaster or attacked sites recited in Claim 13, wherein the improvements comprise:

a UAV-GPiR integrated system that is perfectly adapted to search and rescue operations, wherein the UAV propulsive saucers recited in Claims 1 and 2 do not induce any turbulence over the operating areas, in contrast to the conventional propeller-driven UAVs;

a fixed or deployable/retractable GPiR antenna (18) for either airborne or ground-contact sensing; and

the implementation (19) of a GPiR system enhancing the subsurface moving-target detection.

Claim 18. The UAV-GPiR application pertaining the evaluation of serviceability, safety and structural security of critical buildings and their sites recited in Claim 13, wherein the improvements comprise:

a hybrid GPiR cart deployment system (20), wherein the fixed GPiR antenna can be cable-deployed/retracted for either airborne or ground-contact sensing;

providing the ability to operate autonomously over large building sites in either individual or collaborative mode of navigation; and

providing the spatial qualitative and quantitative data that is used to build an accurate stratigraphic-based hydrogeological model (21), complemented with the exact topography of the extended building/structure site and the internal structural deterioration mapping.

Claim 19. A class of autonomous personal aerodynes designed in multiple airframe versions (FIG. 26 and 27), which afford controllable urban flight.

Claim 20. The autonomous personal aerodynes of Claim 19, wherein the improvements comprise:

the utilization of propulsive saucers recited in Claims 1 and 2;

an airframe design including the toroidal inflatable chamber landing gear recited in Claim 7, providing increased buoyancy and payload capacity;

the implementation of the Geo-referential Odometry navigation method recited in Claims 9, 10 and 1 1 , ensuring a self-controlled optimal trajectory guidance and navigation between two selectable take-off/landing points within any safe flyable urban area; and

the implementation of a flight initialization routine, wherein the operational air space is initially mapped, decomposed into and pre-installed as a set of contiguous tiles supplied by HD aerial imagery photo-scanning, of higher resolution and update frequency than provided by satellite views of Google maps.