Xsens IMU Used on Autonomous Electricity-Generating Aircraft

Published: 09 Feb 2017

PowerPlane Autonomous Aircraft

Xsens have confirmed that their MTi-100 IMU has been used in Ampyx Power’s Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) system.

The AWE system consists of a PowerPlane, a tethered aircraft that converts wind at higher altitudes into electricity. The PowerPlane is an autonomous aircraft tethered to a generator on the ground. It moves in a regular figure-8 pattern at an altitude of max 450m. When the aircraft moves, it pulls the tether which drives the generator. Once the tether is reeled out to a predefined tether length, the aircraft automatically descends towards the ground causing the tether to reel in. Then it ascends and repeats the process.

PowerPlan electricity generatorThe PowerPlane takes off, flies and lands autonomously from an innovative platform, by utilizing sensors, such as the Xsens MTi-100 IMU, which provide the autopilot with critical information to safely perform the task. The IMU measures linear and rotational acceleration in all directions, providing the autopilot with vital real-time data about the movements of the aircraft. The low weight and small shape of the compact sensor make it ideally suited to this type of application; and easy implementation allows for quick development.

The PowerPlane aircraft complies with high civil aviation safety standards, and Ampyx Power are now scaling up with larger aircraft that can generate even more power. The new AP3 prototype aircraft has a wing span of 10 m and is capable of generating 250 kW. The commercial 2 MW product, planned in 2018, will have a wing span of 30 m and can supply 1000 households with low cost electricity.

Contact Xsens

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.