A generic fault detection algorithm for VTOL UAVs would be directly applicable to many NASA applications. With successful Phase I and envisioned Phase II efforts, this system will truly be generic in the sense that it can be installed on nearly any aircraft, manned or unmanned, vertical lift or conventional. Furthermore, the generality of the system does not require a precise installation or a tedious training process. NASA would have the ability to integrate the system into existing and future flight test programs and install it on nearly any test article including the ESAero-primed X-57 "Maxwell". Such a system would provide an additional layer of safety to the program. Such technology will be vital as NASA begins testing electric and hybrid-electric aircraft where electric motor, generator, and battery performance is being pushed into unknown territory. The system could also be installed onto ground test articles or within wind tunnels.
With millions of VTOL UAV aircraft sold every year for both commercial and personal use, the number of accidents due to system or component failure will inevitably increase hampering their safe integration into the NAS. In addition, VTOL UAVs are gaining traction in the commercial sector as businesses invent new and innovative use cases such as package delivery, farming, photography, land surveying, disaster relief, gas/oil pipeline inspection, and much more. As these commercial UAV fleets grow larger, fleet operators will need new ways to efficiently manage and streamline vehicle maintenance. A generic fault detection system would allow the operators to detect abnormalities and then preemptively repair or replace faulty components before the vehicle becomes a safety hazard and/or causes a disruption in operations. The generic plug-and-play capability of the proposed system is critical to commercialization. By creating a common solution and integration approach that minimizes the complexity, installation, and setup time this technology can bring enhanced safety to the consumer UAV market and ease the integration of these aircraft into the NAS.