uAvionix Corporation announced on April 28th a new member to its suite of certifiable avionics for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Weighing in at 80 grams, ‘George‘ is the first autopilot product from uAvionix. With a low SWaP, certifiability, and U.S-based manufacturing, George is a solution for enterprise operations and those wishing to type certify their Unmanned Aerial Systems. Built around the world-class Cube from CubePilot, George marries the of the innovation of over a decade of open-source autopilot excellence with Design Assurance Level (DAL) C hardware and safety and sensor monitoring. Together, these enable customers to meet the Type Certification and safety case requirements for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations. The autopilot hints towards the future of third-party components specifically tuned for sUAS and aerial mobility use, as these hardware components are TSO’ed and so applicable for use on certified aircraft within the United States.

Key features of the George Autopilot from uAvionics

George’s triple redundant IMU system includes three accelerometers, three gyroscopes, three magnetometers, and three barometers, one of which has been TSO certified under TSO-C88b in other uAvionix products such as skyBeacon, tailBeacon, and ping200X. The hardware platform is designed and built to RTCA DO-254 DAL-C, and meets rigorous DO-160G and MIL-810H power and environmental qualifications. Triple redundancies enable greater confidence in passengers and operators alike, as they have been instrumental in risk mitigation and certification requirements for commercial aircraft, and will be so in future aerial mobility platforms in the years to come as well.

George is plug-and-play compatible with all of uAvionix’s certified and uncertified products, including GPS and dual-band ADS-B receivers for Detect and Avoid (DAA). The ability to rapidly deploy and install new autopilot technology on a sUAS foreshadows the application of similar technology to aerial mobility aircraft, where modular line replaceable hardware will enable quick maintenance and fault resolution during extended, rigorous operation of aerial mobility aircraft.

“The flight control capabilities of the Cube are superb, backed by hundreds of thousands of man-hours of engineering and experimentation over the past 10 years,” said Paul Beard CEO of uAvionix. “But what has been lacking is a hardware platform that matches that capability in robust performance. George brings everything we’ve learned about certified avionics to the autopilot space in a way that outperforms existing enterprise and military autopilots in a lower SWaP package.”

George will be available for beta test launch customers in June 2021 with production units available in the Fall.

Why it’s important: uAvionix’s George autopilot for sUAS is similar to what could be expected from third-party line replaceable hardware that aerial mobility aircraft use in the future. The triple redundancy of the system, combined with the flexibility of application spectrum all contribute to the value that similar avionics and flight path control hardware will provide for the future of drone and manned/unmanned aerial mobility vehicles.

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