TYLT Airborne Systems (Australia) is reinventing the UAV market with its revolutionary hybrid autonomous air vehicles. Their new drone is called Cerberus from greek mythology, describing a three-headed dog, or hellhound, with a serpent’s tail and lion’s claws. The Cerberus drone, under development, is a three-rotor multi-copter with significantly improved manoeuvrability, speed and agility over a standard quad-copter. Cerberus is phase one of the TYLT drone product line. Prototype trials are currently underway and the first functioning prototype is expected to be ready by mid 2015, with services commencing late 2015. Droneblog talks with Michael Creagh, CEO of TYLT Airborne Systems, to learn more.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I have always been interested in technology. Studied mechanical engineering and did Formula SAE as the engine guys. I worked for a year at a consulting firm and was incredibly bored so left to do a PhD in missile guidance. Following this, took up a postdoctoral position as the guidance and control engineer for the $14m hypersonic flight experiment, Scramspace. My job was to re-orient a scramjet payload outside the atmosphere using cold gas thrusters.
How and when did you get started flying drones?
Started with remote controlled cars as a kid. Got interested in controlling flying vehicles during my PhD exchange in Florida (2009) where the flight mechanics lab had some tiny R/C helicopters. I took one home and the addiction grew from there!
Tell us about TYLT and your role in the company.
TYLT is a fresh and exciting start-up with an enthusiastic and motivated young team. There are a lot of unemployed aerospace engineers in Australia right now, and these folks are starting to realise that they may have to make their own future. Once the team started to grow, we found very capable industrial design and marketing support for the project. My role as CEO is general coordination of technical and business development activities.
Who is the core team? Any interesting stories about how company was founded or how the team came together?
The core team is the five board members that cover technical, financial, business development and marketing. We met from all over the place. Three of our key technical staff have PhDs.
What inspired Cerberus?
Terminator 2. I have always wanted to build a Hunter Killer gunship!
Can you tell us a little bit about the process of development?
It’s a long path. We wanted complete control over the software so we had to develop the electronics and software from scratch. I don’t like the plug and play culture because it limits the imagination and flexibility of the design.
When will the Cerberus be available?
We have completed constrained control system testing and the next step is tethered flight. You can expect availability some time in 2016. We have an incredibly advanced 6-DOF simulation of the vehicle. The simulation leads drone development by about 6 months in terms of capability. Eventually, the user will be able to simulate the mission before it flies and even do hardware in the loop!
Do you have any other projects/ideas in the works? When do you expect those to be produced?
We are constantly evolving our ideas and investing in the future. We have a PhD student starting next year who is looking into safe indoor flight and navigation.
Thanks for sharing with us! Is there anything else we didn’t ask that you want to mention?
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