Interviews: VELANAS, Pantelis (ACCELI)

Dr. VELANAS, Pantelis

Founder and CEO of Acceligence Ltd. (ACCELI)

What is your role in CHAMELEON?

Project Coordinator.

How does your expertise contribute to the overarching goals of the CHAMELEON project?

The role of the coordinator plays an important part in strategic planning and decision-making, ensuring effective coordination among team members towards the success of the project. Previous experience in project coordination and expertise in physics, telecommunications, and photonics allows us to make valuable contributions to project not just from a project management perspective but also towards the technical development of CHAMELEON technologies and innovations.

What were the primary considerations when designing the CHAMELEON drone for varied rural applications?

The primary considerations about the CHAMELEON drone was to be designed with a focus on versatility, durability, and adaptability to diverse rural environments according to the surveys that were conducted with the end users. Key considerations included robustness to withstand harsh conditions, modular features for easy customization, and user-friendly controls for operators with varying skill levels. Additionally, one of the most important considerations was for the drone to be able to integrate various advanced sensors to address specific agricultural needs, enhancing its effectiveness across a wide range of rural applications without the need for multiple UAVs.

Considering the diverse challenges in European rural areas, how did you ensure the CHAMELEON drone’s adaptability to different tasks and environments?

The UAV features a modular and reconfigurable design with options for quadcopter, octocopter, and octocopter co-axial configurations. With eight telescopic arms, the UAV allows for manual and automated adjustments, offering flexibility for different missions. Various configurations provide options for mission profiles, offering advantages like improved battery life, smaller size for confined spaces and the capability to host various sensors according to the specific mission. Special embedded sensors detect configuration changes, ensuring automated adjustments to flight controller software and eliminating potential human errors. The system supports user-selectable propeller sizes, adjustable UAV dimensions, and on-board computing board for advanced AI algorithms.

How is the CHAMELEON drone’s energy consumption optimized for prolonged tasks?

The CHAMELEON drone is designed to facilitate future technological upgrades and modifications through its modular architecture. The UAV’s components, including sensors such as the telemetry module, the receiver, and the computing board, are easily replaceable and upgradeable. This allows for seamless integration of new technologies as they emerge, ensuring the drone remains at the forefront of innovation. Furthermore, the UAV has the ability to host multiple sensors if they fall within the required dimensions and weight. Moreover, the open-source nature of the software (PX4) supports customization and adaptation, making it an ideal drone for research purposes as it allows scientists and researchers the freedom to intervene, customize, and adapt the software to their specific research needs.