Evaluation of UAV configurations for package delivery missions though conceptual design

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Govindarajan, B.
Sridharan, A.
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Conceptual sizing and performance estimation of four configurations for a package delivery mission is presented in this work. The multi-fidelity VTOL design framework HYDRA is used to size a notional quadcopter, hexacopter, quad-rotor bi-plane tailsitter (QBiT), and a lift-augmented tricopter for weight classes of 10 kg, 15 kg, 20 kg, and 25 kg. Sizing is performed using a combination of physics-based empty weight models for the airframe, rotor blades and wings, along with empirical models. A longitudinal trim methodology was implemented that minimizes the power required for a configuration for a given flight condition. Representative payload drop scenarios were constructed from different cruise speeds and ranges to identity a vehicle design in each configuration that can complete the most number of payload drop missions successfully. It is identified that the hexacopter performed better over the quadcopter in terms of requiring lower installed power and deliver heavier payload packages for a given radius of action. Wing-based designs such as the QBiT and tricopter are capable of delivering packages in a short time owing to either full/partial conversion to airplane mode during cruise flight.