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74 T he 5th Commercial UAV Show brought together more than 100 exhibitors from industry, academia and government to showcase the latest developments and offerings for professional unmanned aircraft users. Among more than 3000 other attendees, UST ’s Rory Jackson attended the show at the London ExCeL to investigate the latest technological innovations and updates for unmanned systems. UAV designer Tetra Drones showcased its TD-7 marine hexacopter, which is built around inspection and movie applications while sitting on water. “The UAV’s body is completely sealed in a fibreglass composite, with quick- release hatches on the front and rear, and a Perspex dome on the front to house the internal camera and gimbal,” said Ben Pickard. “It can fly safely in rain and can withstand winds of 40-48 kph.” DJI cameras such as the X5, X3, X4S and Z30 can be used in the TD-7, as well as some FLIR thermal cameras. The UAV can integrate 9A to 16A batteries, powering six 400 rpm/V motors, for 15- 30 minutes of flight time, with overall endurance variable depending on how long the TD-7 is stationary on the water. Flotation is provided by two pontoon- shaped landing skids made from carbon fibre encased in foam, but the company plans to upgrade these, potentially with syntactic foams for buoyancy. Czech propeller manufacturer Mejzlik Propellers had on display a new protective coating for its propellers, which is designed to improve blade longevity against the grit and small rocks that UAVs typically encounter during take-off and landing in dry or urban environments. “It’s aimed at protecting the leading edge and rear faces of propellers,” said Tomas Mejzlik. “We paint the pre-formed coating, which is a gelatinous adhesive with micro-carbon particles, into the mould before curing our carbon fibre propellers. “A lot of manufacturers use protective tape for this sort of thing, but that can interfere with the aerodynamic profile of the blade, especially for smaller propellers.” The company also continues to develop its larger propellers, including Here are our highlights from this annual unmanned systems show in London Docklands East End parade December/January 2019 | Unmanned Systems Technology The Tetra Drones TD-7 is a prime example of the kind of vehicle on show at the London event (Courtesy of Tetra Drones)