H Scientific have demonstrated their SPECTRE based autopilot in control of unmanned airships. Our initial foray into the airborne sector was funded by a Government SMART award. We developed the associated hardware to customize our SPECTRE unit for airborne application, this included instrumentation for measuring height and airspeed. Subsequent airship projects have developed the airship autopilot further. Associated hardware includes a dual redundant power control system which allows two independent power supplies, e.g. batteries, alternators, to be used to power the autopilot and associated systems. A remote (flight) termination system (RTS / FTS) has been developed which monitors an encoded radio transmission signal; if this is lost, the RTS instigates vehicle recovery procedures.

We have also developed an airship simulator, which is used throughout the installation and testing program. We demonstrated the autopilot in control of an unmanned airship, performing heading control and height control.

When moving into the airborne applications, installation on an airship was chosen, partly because the dynamics of an airship are not dissimilar to those of a submarine. However, the SPECTRE autopilot is not restricted to airships and could be fitted to a number of unmanned aerial vehicles.