Written by: Trevor Antell

AMSS engaged TAD® to design and build an ECU for the control of the brakes and throttle response on an ATLAS aircraft loader. It is critical that a system controlling the engine and brakes of a vehicle is extremely reliable. Failure of either systems could result in an ATLAS loader colliding with a multi-million pound airframe causing irreparable damage and rendering it useless.

The TAD-650 is a custom designed control PCB housed in an IP67 Cinch ModICE enclosure. It controls functions on the loader, enabling safe approach to the aircraft and lifting of its load. This is achieved by controlling the brake solenoids and monitoring engine revs to make sure they don’t leave a pre-defined zone.

In a more modern ATLAS loader with a CAN controlled engine, we communicate directly to the engine. In the older variety, still controlled with a Bowden cable, we designed and manufactured a CAN controlled actuator to control the revs. Prior to our controller, the ATLAS loader relied on human control of the throttle and brakes. Adding control to the vehicle reduced the possibility of human error and increased reliability.