Unmanned Air Systems – A Capability and Research Landscape Review

The Unmanned Air Systems – A Capability and Research Landscape Review was created by a partnership among some of the CASCADE members and industrial partners. The University of Southampton, Thales and QuinetiQ produced this document in 2019 as part of a ‘horizon scanning in unmanned aircraft systems’ exercise for DSTL. The 189-page document contains a review of more than 850 articles and it is now accessible to the general public.

A link to the full document is at the bottom of the page. A short excerpt from the introduction is presented below.

“The technology behind the next generation of unmanned aircraft systems lies at the confluence of
numerous research disciplines. These cover areas conventionally associated with aircraft engineering,
such as airframe design, internal combustion engine optimisation, radar systems, autopilots, communications
and so on. Modern unmanned aircraft systems engineering, however, also relies on areas that
the aircraft engineers of yesteryear will have seldom associated with their craft or even have heard of,
such as battery and fuel cell chemistry, autonomy, human-machine teaming, micro-technologies, global
positioning systems and much else.
This report aims to provide a snapshot of this underpinning technology, with a particular focus on
the low TRL (Technology Readiness Level) ideas being explored in research labs around the world.
Some of these ideas will turn out to be dead ends. Others will only be enabled by other technologies
whose time is yet to come. But some will be key enablers of the unmanned aircraft technology of
the coming decades and a few may bring about revolutions that will open up up whole new areas of
applications or lead to step changes in the ‘real world’ usability of drones. Like all such reviews, this
report makes no claims of completeness, nor does it devote exactly the same level of attention to all
of the areas listed above. It does, however, aim to be a tool that will enable researchers and decision
makers to gain an understanding of the directions in which this industry is headed and where some of
the key roadblocks and opportunities may lie.”


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