The Northern Research Institute in Norway (NORUT) is a national research group with activities in technology, social science and innovation. Its research is focused on the arctic region.
One of the research programs of NORUT is on Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). NORUT has assembled an unmanned fixed-wing aircraft, named CryoWing, with a wingspan of 3.80m. It can carry a payload of 15kg, has a range of 500 km, a cruise speed of up to 120 km/h and a maximum altitude of 5000 meter. These impressive characteristics make the CryoWing an excellent choice for power line inspection, environmental monitoring (land and sea), aerial mapping and meteorological measurements, to name a few. The CryoWing is specifically designed for the artic regions, so it is well suited for operations in extremely cold weather. Although the CryoWing is a relatively large UAV, the launch pad and CryoWing are both mounted on a small size trailer towable by a car or snow scooter.
In the early spring of 2009, NORUT asked Xsens for a solution regarding the heading and attitude control of the CryoWing. The CryoWing is a fast UAV with speeds over 100 km/h. Especially in corners and during take-off, the accelerations reach high values. A conventional IMU that was installed in the CryoWing could not cope with these high dynamics. Xsens advised the MTi-G AHRS with integrated GPS, which uses aiding data of GPS and a barometer to provide accurate orientation, even under high-dynamic conditions. After the first MTi-G, NORUT was pleased to place additional orders in the summer and winter of 2009.
On some missions CryoWing combines the MTi-G with a high-grade GNSS receiver of Septentrio,a partner of Xsens. Synchronization between these two can be established using UTC and/or TTL time pulses and are simple and effective ways of dealing with data acquisition of multiple sensor systems.
On the website of NORUT, a set of beautiful pictures is available of the CryoWing in a measurement campaign on 78 deg northern latitude.