EDC’s Airdrop System Technologies

In the past, airdrop technology faced critical challenges that prevented its widespread use as a mode of autonomous aerial delivery, such as cost, limited sensing capability, and limited control authority. Earthly Dynamics, however, has developed an airdrop systems that overcomes these issues. EDC’s bleed air actuation, in-canopy sensing, and canopy guidance unit technologies create the trifecta that pushes autonomous airdrop systems to the next level.

Earthly Dynamics’ Bleed Air Actuation (BAA) technology consists of small vents in the upper surface of a parafoil canopy. Bleed Air Motors (BAMs) are attached to the structural cell walls of a canopy and are designed to open and close the canopy vents, which provides a powerful way to actively control the system with less power and weight in the actuators than comparable trailing edge controlled airdrop systems. Rather than deforming the canopy, the various combinations of opened or closed vents results in efficient lateral and longitudinal control. Read more about our patented in-canopy bleed air actuator design (Patent No: US 9,428,477 B1)!

Earthly Dynamics’ Canopy Guidance Unit (CGU) is a custom designed electronics package that consists of a BAA interface, sensors, and flight computer. EDC’s proprietary flight software incorporates both lateral and longitudinal control, making it capable of flying directly to a target landing point without the need for additional energy management in flight. EDC’s flight software is adaptive to real-time parachute performance. The software also allows the user to give a single landing point, or the flight software can choose from a list of impact points based on real-time wind conditions. The CGU is designed to control bleed-air actuators and can be used for parafoils with payloads weighing up to 2000 lb. To learn more about how the CGU’s in-canopy sensing and actuation capabilities are put to use, read our previous In-Canopy Sensors Guided Airdrop news article!