u-blox, a global provider of leading positioning and wireless communication technologies, has gained another high-profile endorsement for ZED-F9P, its high precision GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) module that delivers centimeter-level accuracy within seconds. Quantum-Systems, a German company specialized in the development and production of electric VTOL (Vertical Take-off and Landing) aircrafts for civilian use, has incorporated the module in its latest electric Tron F90+ fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). These state-of-the-art 3.5m wingspan drone units, which can travel at speeds of up to 160km/hour and have a 100km flight range, are employed in mission-critical logistical activities – such as the transporting of emergency blood reserves to remote locations, as well as mining and agriculture related tasks.
The Tron F90+ is the latest addition to the Quantum-Systems eVTOL UAV platform designed for cargo, inspection, survey and mapping, and reconnaissance in adverse conditions, and consisting also of the Trinity F9, Scorpion, and Vector UAVs. They all feature u-blox F9 high precision GNSS technology.
The key challenge that the engineering team at Quantum-Systems faced when developing the Tron F90+ UAV concerned vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), and having access to accurate enough position data to ensure that these operations would always go smoothly. The valuable payloads being carried could thus be protected from risk of damage.
Through the multi-band real-time kinematic (RTK) and raw code and carrier phase data available to the ZED-F9P, the necessary positioning correction is assured and the pilot can complete even the most difficult of maneuvers. Each of the Tron F90+ UAVs features a ZED-F9P module. Through either RTK or post-processing positioning correction absolute position accuracy can also be brought down to 3-5 cm. This degree of accuracy means that the u-blox module is about 100 times more accurate than standard meter-level GNSS solutions, but is still able to present customers with very attractive pricing.
As Dr. Michael Kriegel, Chief Technical Officer at Quantum Systems, explains, “This drone project mandated an accurate, cost-effective, and ultra-reliable solution which could provide us with PPK capabilities, and offer RTK capabilities to be utilized in the future. The lightweight but rugged construction, ease of integration and exceptional component quality of the ZED-F9P modules were all factored into our decision to choose u-blox.”
“Since we released it earlier this year, our u-blox F9 platform has gained incredible market traction, with rapid uptake across a broad array of different sectors,” adds Peter Fairhurst, Director Product Line Management (High Precision), Product Center Positioning, u-blox. “This project with Quantum-Systems is another great example of where we are bringing industry-leading position accuracy to applications in which there is simply no room for mistakes, while simultaneously managing to keep the bill-of-materials costs involved down.”