Wireless Interconnectivity and Control of Active Systems (WICAS)

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Department Name: Electronics Electrical Eng and Comp Sci


The aircraft industry is seeking to respond to environmental concerns by developing technologies that will allow sustained air travel growth whilst minimising overall carbon footprint. Active flow control, achieved through local modulation of aircraft skin surfaces, offers great potential for significantly reducing drag and the related fuel consumption and emissions. Implementing this requires thousands of sensor/controller/actuator systems to be embedded across the aircraft wings and fuselage to create an 'Active Aircraft'. However, the scale of such a smart skin friction reduction system poses a huge challenge in terms of interconnectivity, maintenance and fault-tolerance. The WICAS concept addresses this by providing a wireless network solution that is capable of interconnecting and enabling such a large number of components whilst providing communication to other airframe systems. This research brings together new ideas in fault-tolerance and condition monitoring, wireless network control systems and wireless networks to create an advanced 'nervous system' for the active aircraft. The wireless technology to be used in WICAS has been carefully chosen to address the quality and performance requirements and the safety critical nature of the system in a manner that will enable certification.


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