ELCOD - Endurance Low COst Drone

© Patrick Seeger

The ELCOD project - Endurance Low COst Drone - was successful in the context of the call for projects "INTERREG V - Science Offensive 2016" with a total budget of 991,918 € (495,959 € ERDF and 249,999 € regional funds).




At present, manned aircraft are generally used for inspection and measurement tasks that require a long range and operating time, which entail considerable costs, high loads and last but not least risks for pilots, crew and material. Unmanned autonomous systems, on the other hand, can only be found in a high-priced market segment and mainly in military applications.

With the ELCOD project, the partners at the IUAS of the University of Applied Sciences Offenburg, the INSA and the CNRS/ICPEES in Strasbourg are pursuing the alternative of developing a cost-effective autonomous UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle | unmanned aircraft) for the transport of small payloads, e. g. for use in the area of inspection, monitoring or measurement tasks.

In addition to theoretical studies, design and construction, the project also includes the development, production and demonstration of such a long-haul aircraft, which is projected for a maximum take-off mass of 25 kg, a maximum range of about 5,000 km and a payload of about 5 kg. As an alternative to modern internal combustion engines, the use of an environmentally friendly fuel cell drive is planned and investigated for the propulsion of the aircraft. Areas of application for such a UAV can be found, for example, in border surveillance, the inspection of agricultural areas, rescue or auxiliary missions, measuring tasks for meteorology, the identification of air pollution or the monitoring of air quality. The aircraft must be completely autonomous, fail-safe, all-weather capable (overseas use) and easy and inexpensive to manufacture.

The ELCOD project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and regional partners in the Grand Est region of Strasbourg, Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate as part of the INTERREG V Upper Rhine Programme.