Systematic “invention” of UAV Concepts

Genrich Altshuller developed, in the course of the latter half of the twentieth century, a theory of inventive problem solving (TIPS - better known by the corresponding acronym in his native Russian, TRIZ). Perhaps the best known embodiment of his theory is what has evolved into “TRIZ 40,” a series of basic principles of concept design, which may be viewed as a checklist of categories of possible design changes to be considered against an initial tentative topology or family of topologies.

Given a “back of a napkin” sketch of an early concept - perhaps an existing aircraft or a relatively conservative layout or perhaps one of several layouts produced by the concept design team - the following list of questions, inspired by a subset of the TIPS categories, may be used to guide the initial design review of the UAV concept design process. Some of these questions may stretch some way into what could be classed as preliminary design, but the dividing lines are often blurred and, in any case, the ideas listed below may be revisited in later stages of the design process.

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