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A review of alternative electrical power distribution methods for future unmanned aerial vehicles

Elders, Ian and Norman, Patrick and Booth, Campbell and Galloway, Stuart and Burt, Graeme and Mcdonald, James (2008) A review of alternative electrical power distribution methods for future unmanned aerial vehicles. In: Power Systems Conference Technical Papers 2008. SAE International.

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Abstract

Increasingly complex and challenging mission requirements for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) may in the future place demands on the vehicle electrical system. Direct current and high-frequency alternating current have been proposed as alternatives to conventional AC approaches in manned aircraft which may contribute to meeting these requirements. The paper reviews the advantages and disadvantages a number of power distribution options across a range of metrics likely to be of interest to UAV designers and operators including factors such as weight, fault management and electrical losses. Important technical challenges in the application of these technologies are identified.