I knew it was just a matter of time before the technology took off. This week, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos announced that his online store is developing a drone-based delivery service.” The Amazon drones, called octopeters, are expected to deliver products to customers only a half-hour after they click the “buy” button.
This “science-fiction” approach to deliveries is still a few years away, but it’s no longer out of the range of possibilities. And won’t it be fun to watch a recently ordered item literally drop out of the sky?
The Amazon Drones
The Amazon drone is the size of a flat-screen monitor powered by electric motors. It follows GPS coordinates to drop items off at target locations. “The hard part here is putting in all the redundancy, all the reliability, all the systems you need to say, ‘Look, this thing can’t land on somebody’s head while they’re walking around their neighborhood,’” Bezos told CBS 60 Minutes.
And this is where ANSYS engineering simulation comes in. Today, product differentiation increasingly depends on embedded software, including complex control code and user-friendly human–machine interfaces — which in turn increases product complexity and risk. So the latest ANSYS capability optimizes embedded code. SCADE Suite offers the unique capability to graphically design, verify and automatically generate embedded software for smart product applications — like drones. Continue reading
The bare trees that late autumn brings contribute to great sky gazing. The dark nights and clear air offer the best clarity for looking at the stars. With little light pollution in New Hampshire (where I live), I don’t need to look upwards for very long before I spot a bright light flying overhead. Sometimes it is the International Space Station, but most commonly it’s one of the many communications satellites orbiting the earth. Then driving to work this morning, I passed through precipitation that was trying its best to be snow. So if we think it’s getting chilly here, imagine the harsh environment that those satellites are exposed to!
Extremes of cold on one side coupled with intense solar radiation on the other — and add in that even a small piece of debris traveling at high speeds can do an incredible amount of damage to a satellite’s structure. Yet we all expect our communications devices to work flawlessly. Far more important, the military relies on mission-critical satellite-based communication. But we rarely give any thought to the satellites that are a critical link in the chain. Continue reading
I’m inviting our readers to join me for a special webinar on September 10th entitled “Robust Electronic System Design Practices for Aerospace and Defense Products.” Hosted by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (IDGA), and using a case-study format, the webinar will show how combining electrical, thermal and fluid dynamics–structural simulators can deliver unprecedented product performance insight prior to physical prototyping. Continue reading
In today’s ultra-competitive environment, product differentiation increasingly depends on embedded software. From automobiles to airplanes to medical devices, systems architecture and embedded software are important parts of product development cycles. Being able to manage these processes effectively so that you get the desired results is becoming a differentiator.
Today, the cars that we drive have more that 10 million lines of code! Can you imagine the hours it takes to come up with the definitions of what the car should do and how it should do it — let alone implement all this correctly through software code? It’s a time-consuming process, and getting it right the first time is challenging. We’ve all seen examples of what happens when the code isn’t correct. Incorrect code can cost companies millions of dollars, and more importantly, it erodes customers’ trust in that brand.
By using model-based, production-proven software tools for the development of embedded code, products can be developed in a faster and safer manner. And, when coupled with a certified automatic code generator, compliance for standards like DO-178B/C in aerospace, ISO 26262 in automotive and EN 50128 in rail is more rapidly achieved. Continue reading
What happens when a bird runs into a plane while the plane is soaring through the air? How do you identify exactly what happened in that split second? And since every action has a reaction, how do you determine if the plane is designed to survive a bird strike? Understanding the physics of split-second events: This is the arena of explicit dynamics analysis.
Now consider split-second impacts in golf. United States Golf Association specifications regulate the speed limit with which a golf ball leaves the face of a driver. Using a standard of approximately 109 mph clubhead speed, approved golf balls leave the face of the driver at about 180 mph on average. If you’re charged with designing balls and clubs, how do you get to the optimal design that meets specs?
Animation courtesy Advanced International Multitech Co., Ltd. Continue reading
A few days ago, while I was waiting to board a flight, I ran into a childhood friend who I hadn’t seen in 20 years, and he was waiting for the same flight. We talked about all the developments in our lives over the last two decades, and it was wonderful catching up. I told my friend about how I had graduated in aerospace engineering, that my specialization is in CFD, and that I get to work with aerospace customers. He was quite interested in learning more about how our software helps with aircraft design.
We could see our aircraft approaching the gate through the pane glass window as we started to discuss how external aerodynamics analysis influences the design of wings, fuselage, engines and flaps. Just around that time, the announcer issued the boarding, and so we boarded the flight and managed to get seats side by side.
While we continued our discussion, the aircraft was on the tarmac and began acceleration for take off. All of a sudden, my friend grabbed my hand. I was quite surprised and looked at him, even more shocked to see his tensed face with eyes closed and ears filled with cotton. Continue reading
The first issue of the ANSYS Advantage magazine for 2013 is now available for your reading pleasure… and it focuses on the aerospace industry. Our subject is especially timely, since the aerospace industry is poised to kick off another record year: OEMs (including Boeing and Airbus) as well as the supply chain (such as GE Aviation and Pratt & Whitney) have record backlogs of orders. I’m proud to be involved in putting this magazine together. The publication involves a huge effort from our customers and our staff, so I congratulate and thank them for an excellent job.
Next-generation technology in aerospace
One of the reasons I enjoy this work so much is that I gain insight into a breadth of applications. All too often, we get focused on a specific discipline, such as aerodynamics, composites, electronic systems or software (among others), causing us to lose sight of the bigger picture. In aerospace, the view from 20,000 feet shows us that the industry designs and manufactures some of the most complex man-made systems on earth.
Seeing it from this perspective really makes me realize the important role that the modeling and simulation community plays in aerospace product development. While we continually strive for incremental improvements in each discipline, we cannot lose sight of coupling all these disciplines as a system — and not just hardware, but software and embedded systems. Furthermore, we must also focus on the future — so the industry can continue to grow and contribute to developing revolutionary next-generation technology. All of these factors make the aerospace industry so exciting today! Continue reading
I’ve always been passionate about aircraft. When I served in the Air Force and took my pilot training, I learned a lot about how systems on military planes work. One of the most amazing components, to me, was the ejection seat, probably one of the most complex pieces of equipment on board.
Drogue parachute system analysis with inset submodel of the critical area using nonlinear material properties. Courtesy CTC.
Even if the purpose of the seat is clear and simple — to provide the pilot a safe and immediate way out of the aircraft in case of accident — its job is a very tough one. The seat has to work in emergency conditions; it represents the last chance for a pilot to leave a severely damaged aircraft, maybe spiraling out of control. This system must be designed not to fail despite the critical, varied and unpredictable conditions in which it will be used. That’s quite a challenge for designers! Let me give you an example. Continue reading