AeroVironment has obtained a patent that optimizes the GPS capabilities of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aerial vehicles. The patented system, identified by Publication Number US11686859B2, details a mechanism that employs two GPS antennas to enhance flight control, ensuring increased accuracy and safety during aerial maneuvers.
The newly patented approach makes use of a unique flight controller with both a processor and addressable memory. This controller actively measures the pitch level of the VTOL aerial vehicle during vertical flight. Should the pitch level match or exceed a preset rotation, the system promptly chooses between the two GPS antennas via an integrated GPS antenna switch.
Additionally, the system can identify errors within the GPS antennas. On detecting such an error, it adjusts the rotation settings, ensuring minimal reliance on the malfunctioning antenna. This careful calibration helps avoid unintentional switches between antennas during key aerial movements, such as ascending, descending, evasive action, and turns.
In terms of placement, the primary GPS antenna is situated at the front of the VTOL aerial vehicle. To ensure optimal signal reception, the area surrounding this antenna is kept free from carbon-based and metallic materials. The secondary antenna is located at a distance from the first, with both antennas designed to have their field of view oriented vertically under specific conditions of the VTOL's flight.
To further enhance reliability, the system comes equipped with both a primary and a secondary GPS receiver. The flight controller has the capability to toggle between these receivers, depending on the quality of the signal and the number of satellites each receiver can access.