Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUT) will participate in a pioneering program of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs or drones).
This is “Project Lotus” (Lotus Plan) and it is “a very great success of Greece,” as Kyriakos Yakinthos, professor of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, explained on the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency “Agency 104.9 FM” radio station.
“We have created a consortium to design and build an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, which will carry out surveillance and intelligence gathering missions in general. It is a program coordinated by the Greek company Intracom Defense, in which a total of many other Greek companies participate, as well as Cypriot, Spanish and Dutch companies,” the professor said.
According to Yakinthos, “production will take place in Greece. The Greek percentage in the construction will be over 80%.”
“With the specific program and the idea that we had, we developed and presented, we came out first. First, in fact, above other very large European companies. We achieved this because we had many innovations in our proposal,” said Yakinthos, adding that the University of Patras is also participating in the project.
“We at AUT will design the specific drone, which will have innovations that were evaluated very positively by the EU. While at the University of Patras, they will design the so-called Swarm Management Algorithms,” Yakinthos continued.
He also noted two types of drones will be built as part of “Project Lotus”.
One will be the Motherboard – “Mothership,” the big drone that will be designed by the AUT – while the other will be a much smaller one that will be built in large numbers and will work in combination with the big one.
“It is a great honour for us to design this, the largest drone as well as the small UAVs. We have included in the design of the project the Greek companies that will participate in the construction. One of these companies, the one that will build it, is based in Northern Greece,” the professor pointed out.
Regarding the design philosophy, Yakinthos explained that the “motherboard” will be a large and heavy drone with 8 to 9 meters wing width.
“We managed as Greece with “Project Lotus” to strengthen this important triangle – Armed Forces, industry and Research Institutions – something we wanted for years. Greece, in a competitive context, submitted four proposals as a coordinating country and we got all four,” Yakinthos stressed.
“They are drones that will fly for surveillance missions, humanitarian missions – and more. They have been designed based on the requirements of our country and can be used in other things from there and beyond,” the professor continued.
“The top specifications of the construction of all subsystems of “Project Lotus” make it tempting for further sales to interested parties, beyond Greece,” explained the director of the Fluid and Turbine Engineering Laboratory of AUT.
“The AuT will also collect rights for each drone that will be built. The money will then go to the needs of the university itself such as equipment, rooms, etc.,” concluded Yakinthos.