A 3D-printed UAS built by the University of Southampton is helping the British Royal Navy’s ice-patrol ship HMS Protector navigate through Antarctic seas.
The Southampton University Laser-Sintered Aircraft (SULSA), the world’s first “printed” airplane, is made of nylon, printed in four major parts and assembled without the use of any tools.
The fixed-wing aircraft, along with another quadcopter UAS, provide the icebreaker with a real-time high-quality picture of the surrounding environment from a perspective only available from the air.
“This trial of these low-cost but highly versatile aircraft has been an important first step in establishing the utility of unmanned aerial vehicles in this region,” said Captain Rory Bryan, Protector’s Commanding Officer.
The SULSA 3D-printed UAS was recovered after a successful flight in the Antarctic.