Rotary Engine Technology for UAVs, UGVs, USVs - Highly Efficient, Low SWaP

The SARM Project
SARM Project

The SARM Project is designing and developing an innovative, cutting-edge concept for a new rotary engine that aims to push engine power, efficiency and reliability to new heights. The new rotary engine technology features lower size, weight, cost and environmental footprint compared to conventional internal combustion (gas and diesel) engines.

This novel and efficient rotary engine technology will be an ideal propulsion solution for a wide variety of unmanned vehicles, from small lightweight drones up to large heavy-duty UAVs (unmanned aircraft), UGVs (unmanned ground vehicles) and USVs (unmanned surface vehicles).

Concept rotary UAV engine

Efficient Rotary Engine Technology

Innovative rotary engine technology for UAVs, UGVs and USVs

The SARM rotary engine design features three main parts: a moving arm that also encompasses all the engine pistons, a pressure chamber, and an outer shell that encloses the combustion and expansion chambers.

The engine design has currently been awarded patents in twelve countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, USA, Australia and China. The SARM Project engine concept also won first prize in the 2010 Honda Initiation Grant Europe contest.

Watch the videos below to learn more about how the SARM rotary engine operates:

Rotary Engine Design Benefits

Efficient, small rotary engine technology for UAVs, UGVs and USVs

Advanced CFD modelling and analysis of the SARM rotary engine design has proven the following increases in capability compared to internal combustion engines of similar power:

  • Up to 5 times smaller size/volume
  • Up to 6 times lower weight
  • Efficiency increase of up to 20%
  • Lower fuel emissions, including up to 80% reduction in NOx emission
  • Lower noise
  • Increased lifespan.

This major advance in internal combustion engine technology will provide a wide range of benefits for manufacturers of UAVs and other robotic platforms:

Reduced weight and volume

Using a small, lightweight engine will allow engineers and manufacturers to develop an entirely new generation of drone and robotic designs, which are able to travel further and operate for longer.

Fewer moving parts

Lower engine vibrations results in lower energy loss to friction. Engines with fewer moving parts allow for a simpler build, decreased maintenance, lower oil requirements and improved lifespan.

Improved efficiency

The pressure chamber technology, operating on a 20% Atkinson cycle, results in an improved efficiency that only varies 5-15% across a wide speed range (100 to 5000 RPM).

Lower fuel consumption

A more efficient engine consumes less fuel, providing SWaP (size, weight and power) benefits as well as extended range and endurance for UAVs and drones.

Rotary Engine Concept Applications

Innovative, efficient propulsion solution for unmanned vehicles

Our concept will be ideal for unmanned and autonomous vehicles and platforms that require an efficient, small rotary engine, such as:

Hybrid gasoline-electric UAVs

UAVs that utilise internal combustion for takeoff, landing and cruising, and electric propulsion for low acoustic/visual signature loitering missions will benefit from an efficient and low-noise engine.

Long-endurance UAVs/drones

A wide variety of small UAS (sUAS), MALE and HALE UAVs that undertake long-endurance operations, such as mapping, precision agriculture, search & rescue, industrial inspections, border patrol, and ISR, will be able to fly further and for longer, thanks to the lower weight rotary engine.

Rugged heavy-duty UGVs

Ground robots (UGVs) that carry a wide variety of heavy payloads over difficult terrain, for both industrial and battlefield use, will benefit from a lightweight and efficient rotary engine.

Unmanned Marine Vessels (USVs)

Unmanned shipping, for commercial cargo, passenger transport, patrolling and defense, and scientific research missions.

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