This competition is hosted by a company based in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The main objective was to create a fully-electric drone that is capable of carrying a 50kg payload for up to 1 hour. We designed a system from scratch: a 12-rotor multicopter, using T-Motor U15 brushless motors, along with 40-inch carbon fiber propellers. Each propulsion unit is capable of producing 35kg of thrust at maximum power. We incorporated a ducted fan design significantly improves efficiency of propellers—we conservatively estimate an improvement of 20%.
A criterion of the competition is user-friendliness. Our innovative frame design has a simple yet safe locking mechanism to hold the arms in place, while also allowing for rapid disassembly of arms for storage. The all-composite structure weighs a mere 11kg. On top of that, modular battery packs allow for easy assembly and disassembly. Each pack weighs 17.5kg. The packs are custom designed from high-capacity 18650 cells, in a 14S25P configuration. The four packs put together give the total battery capacity of 350Ah at 52V nominal.
We submitted our application to the initial phase of the competition. We were chosen as one of the five to receive an R&D grant of approximately $60k to build the system. Unfortunately, we had to withdraw from the competition since the entire team is still in school and we could not commit the time to the project. Nonetheless, this was my first major CAD design project—Autodesk Inventor is my go-to because of the user-friendly design, as well as support for CUDA rendering.
- Project Started: December 2018
- Project Completed: January 2019
- Iterations: 3
- Estimated Total Design Time: 55hrs
- Current Status: Project Archived