International project: Long-Endurance UAV for assessing atmospheric pollution profiles – LEADER is financed from the “Applied research” program under the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021 / POLNOR 2019.
The project is implemented by an international consortium consisting of the Silesian University of Technology, SkyTech eLab sp.z o.o., University of Warsaw, Norwegian Research Center NORCE.
SkyTech eLab in the LEADER project is designed to develop the UAV structure and power supply and propulsion system enabling flights of unlimited durability in a large altitude range up to the stratosphere.
The development of unmanned aircraft is taking place at a very fast pace and new applications are challenging for technical possibilities. One of these challenges is to increase the flight duration until complete power system autonomy and unlimited endurance and range. Achieving unlimited flight duration is associated with a completely different way of approaching UAV design, in particular achieving energy autonomy, drastic weight reduction, changing the form of the object and in particular the aerodynamic concept and structural elements, adaptation to the autonomous performance of long-term tasks, searching for new power sources during the flight with UAV environment. Such UAVs can be used in completely new fields such as tasks taken over from satellite technology by UAVs class HALE or HAPS (High Altitude Long Endurance, High Altitude Pseudo Satellites) or patrolling and observation for UAV LALE (Low Altitude Long Endurance) is possible also significantly increasing flight duration in UAV VTOL class (Vertical Take-off and Landing). One such application is the study of smog distribution on a macro scale over a wide range of space and flight altitude for long-term measurements. Increasing the capabilities of these UAVs beyond the limits of the existing possibilities of publicly available UAV involves solving the following research problems:
- Achieving energy self-sufficiency or at least increased flight duration.
- Developing a high tensile supporting structure of the airframe to achieve appropriate functional parameters.
- Obtaining adequate load bearing capacity while drastically minimizing the weight of load-bearing structures.
- Development of UAVs functional systems that allow maximizing the use of specific flight parameters, high altitude variability and low cruising speed.
- Development of various types of sensors allowing measurements of atmospheric pollutants both during the day and at night.