Diehl Aerospace producing more features for the VoloCity
Volocopter and avionics systems specialist, Diehl Aerospace, are further expanding their partnership.
The contract extension will see Diehl, which is a joint venture between Diehl Aviation and Thales, produce an optical splitter in addition to the flight control system and other components for the battery management system it is already producing for Volocopter.
As noted, Diehl has already developed the Flight Control Computer (FCC) for the VoloCity, including the primary and backup control computers.
The optical splitter will provide control information to the VoloCity’s 18 rotors. In contrast to conventional fly-by-wire control systems, the electrical signals from the flight control computer are translated into optical signals and consequently controlled optoelectronically. Instead of electrical signals via copper wires, light signals are now used via corresponding optical fibres to transmit control commands.
This so-called “Fly-By-Light” control is immune to electromagnetic interference, for example from cell phones or transmission towers, said Diehl Aerospace. “Interference immunity is a key safety criterion, particularly in view of the VoloCity’s planned flight operations at low altitudes in cities.”
In addition, Diehl Aerospace is developing the Data Concentration Unit (DCU) for Volocopter, which is the counterpart to the optical splitter. The DCU collects optical signals from 18 rotors via an optical interface and converts them into digital data for the avionics. This provides the pilot with feedback on the status of engine speed and temperature. With the DCU box, Diehl Aerospace completes the Volocopter’s Fly-By-Light system for the VoloCity.
“We are excited to further expand our partnership with Volocopter, an innovative pioneer in the UAM market, bringing our many years of experience and expertise in flight control systems to the table,” said Florian Maier, CEO of Diehl Aerospace.
In addition to the flight control system, Diehl will also supply further sub-components for the battery management system which monitors the VoloCity’s batteries. VoloCity features nine battery packs that are replaced and recharged after the flight.