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New Drone Airframe Design Uses Additive Moulding

By Mike Ball / 31 Dec 2020
Arris and Skydio drone design
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Arris and Skydio drone design

Skydio has partnered with manufacturing technology firm Arris to develop a new drone airframe design that leverages Arris’ Additive Molding carbon fiber manufacturing process.

The new technology, which has been applied to Skydio’s new X2 drone, allows the manufacture of lighter, longer-range, and more robust aircraft structures at scale, providing the strength and stiffness of titanium at a fraction of the weight and increasing the drone’s range and speed.

The X2 is Skydio’s latest autonomous drone solution for enterprise, public sector and defense applications, featuring advanced autonomy software, a rugged foldable airframe and a flight endurance of up to 35 minutes. The X2 airframe will include a newly-designed core structural element manufactured with Arris’s Additive Molding technology, which uses 3D-aligned continuous fiber composite materials for complex shapes where material composition can change within regions of a single part. Skydio has been able to replace a 17-part assembly with a single carbon fiber component.

Skydio X2 is ideal for a wide range of applications, including situational awareness, asset inspection, security and patrolling. Designed and assembled in the USA, Skydio X2 is NDAA-compliant and has been selected as a trusted UAV solution for the US Department of Defense as part of the DIU (Defense Innovation Unit) Blue sUAS program.

Adam Bry, CEO at Skydio, commented: “We are excited about the value that our partnership with Arris will bring to our customers. At Skydio, we pursue cutting edge innovation across all facets of drone technology. The unique properties of Arris’s Additive Molding carbon fiber allows us to optimize the strength, weight, and radio signal transparency of the Skydio X2 airframe to deliver a highly reliable solution that meets the needs of demanding enterprise, public safety and defense use cases.”

Ethan Escowitz, founder and CEO of Arris, said: “The evolution of aerospace design has been punctuated by breakthroughs in manufacturing and materials. Such a moment has come where manufacturing of optimized structures has converged with composite materials ideals to unlock previously impossible, high-performance aerospace designs.

“While we’re working with leading aerospace manufacturers to improve aircraft performance, sustainability and costs; Skydio’s culture and market have enabled an unsurpassed pace of innovation that has fast-tracked this transformation to deliver the next-generation of aerostructures. It’s simply amazing to see such a revolutionary product broadly available and flying today.”

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Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact
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