Autonomous UAV design and development

The Aldora mission works in an emerging sector such as autonomous UAV drones, capable of carrying out complex tasks of territory reconnaissance. With the Thanos aircraft, we seek to take this task to the next level and develop a space exploration vehicle (SEV), specifically for the exploration of Titan’s Atmosphere. In parallel, an airplane is being developed to participate in the UAV Challenge in order to implement the necessary technology for the airplane Thanos.

To fulfil this objective, the mission is formed by aerospace and electronics engineering students, deepening into all the disciplines that can affect such aircraft: aerodynamics, structure engineering, robotics, programming, artificial intelligence, telecommunications, etc. Everything is being developed entirely by the students of ESEIAAT, however, there are collaborations with external private companies such as HP and JBC to achieve the objective of the mission.

The mission consists of two stages, in the first stage, the necessary technology is developed in order to build the plane and in the second, all the elements are combined to build the definitive aircraft. The technological development has been carried out with different prototypes.


Alfa 2


This was the first aircraft of the project and with which the first technologies and concepts that inspired the project were tested. The aircraft was fully autonomous capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). It has 4 motors that serve for take-off and landing as well as for horizontal flight. Thanks to the collaboration with HP, the structure of the drone was made with its 3D MultiJet Fusion technology.
The difficulties that this design presented for autonomous flight and the propulsion system caused this design to be shelved.



This was the second aircraft of the project and with which the Alpha 2 design was improved. In the aerodynamic design the flying wing structure was preserved but a tail rudder was added to improve its stability. An engine was added to the propulsion system, achieving a total of 5 engines, four for vertical flight and one for horizontal flight. The framework was continued printing with the HP MultiJet Fusion.
Changes in the aerodynamic and propulsion design made the autonomous control system viable. The problem with this design was the weight of the 3D printing that prevented the prototype from being tested in a real situation.

UAVChallenge Drone


At the beginning of the project the competition was not contemplated, it was a long term objective. With the Kronos ship all the technologies that would be crucial to build the autonomous UAV drone were developed. The members of the previous courses managed todevelop: artificial vision for obstacle detection by means of a Lidar, a proprietary electronics and the techniques of aircraft construction by combining composite materials with 3D printing.

To test the operation of all these technologies, they chose to build a VTOL drone that would be the evolution of the Kronos ship that would use them all. This drone would be specially designed to participate in the UAV Challenge in conjunction with the Grass mission.



It is the last aircraft of the project and the one that presents the most ambitious project. The goal is to create a spacecraft sized to perform reconnaissance missions on planets or moons in the solar system, specifically sized to fly to the moon Titan.
This drone has chosen not to use a VTOL technology configuration, because Titan has a denser atmosphere than on Earth it is easier to control a horizontal flight aircraft. First of all, the ship will be built to fly to Earth to test all the systems needed to carry out the mission and later it will be adapted to fly to Titan.

The main feature of this aircraft is that it will allow different scientists to study the enigmas surrounding the surface of Titan in greater depth. To this end, not only has the aircraft been adapted to fly correctly in the extreme conditions of Titan, but it will also have probes inside it that will be launched at different points of interest to allow a study of the surface of the star. All this will not be possible without the collaboration of the external companies of HP and JBC, which are providing both technological and material support for the project.