Note: The image formatting is a little difficult and the number of images per post appears to be limited on DIYdrones, so I mirrored this whole post to my website where it looks a little nicer and the rest of the images can be found.

Two weeks ago I attended AUVSI to learn how the unmanned defense industry is pivoting into the commercial space and where 3DR fits into that ecosystem; give a talk on our community (including DIYDrones!); and sit on a panel moderated by Drone Analyst on drone startups. However, the time available for my mission was cut seriously short by the overwhelming and unexpected interested in Solo displayed by an enormous range of show participants. Everyone from old school, black suit-wearing Lockheed engineers to awesome startups building accessories for drones flocked to our “unmanned” Solo kiosk to ask about Solo. However, I still had a quick two hours on the last day of the show to scope out some of the exhibitors.

Toward one end of the exhibition hall there was a horde of Chinese and Korean multirotor manufacturers who all  mysteriously claimed to have engineered their own autopilots from the ground up. Hmmmmm… That 3DR ublox GPS module is pretty distinctive, even if the logo is wiped off with acetone…

AirRobot showed off a massive hexrotor that takes a 750 Wh battery! To give a sense of perspective, this is nearly five times the limit that can be taken on a plane. Every time the vehicle is shipped the battery must be packaged in a special flameproof case and carried by special courier.

MicroDrones spun out a new US-based manufacturer called Avyon. Their business relationship is not totally clear, but they appear to be making the exact same high quality vehicles stateside, but rebranding them for the American audience.

Drone America showed off an interesting octo at the AirWare booth. These designs nicely shroud the blades, but it can’t be an efficient way to maximize disk loading and I can’t imagine trying to travel with this.

This shotgun-wielding heptarotor appeared in a number booths. No one could answer any questions about it, but it appears to be some boat/multirotor hybrid with a couple of 20 gauge shotguns underneath.

This SenseFly eXom is truly an impressive piece of engineering. It carries a thermal/optical gimbalized camera for inspections, several simple fixed cameras for sense-and-avoid, and several sonar units for the same purpose. I never saw a flight demo, but the GCS looked impressive, if not a little overwhelming.

This huge Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter probably stole the show. I wonder if she flies PixHawk? As we were packing up, I was disappointed to see her getting loading onto a truck. I was hoping she flew in.

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Comment by Nick McCarthy on May 20, 2015 at 7:46pm

The "shotgun-wielding heptarotor" (This was actually a Pentacopter, but they showed it in a tricopter configuration as well) was a waterproof hull design from Rapid Composites. The weaponized version was showing CO2 powered canons that fire rounds with a mix of bird-shot and pink dye.

Comment by Gary McCray on May 20, 2015 at 8:45pm

Cool stuff, Maybe the "Rapid" shotgun setup is for swan hunting in the Middle East, a favorite there.

FPV should add a whole new sporting element, of course if we could just teach the swans to use them it might be a lot more fun.

And of course there's the Black Hawk if you want to start (or finish) a war.

Or maybe it's just the new version of the Amazon delivery drone - the FAA will be thrilled!

The AirRobot have definitely sized things up, but clearly there are some transportation problems as well as I would guess a limited market and they could certainly concern the neighbors (Id hate to have that fall on my head.

The Airware is a nice looking design with the shrouded props, however it's also a bit of an oxymoron, add the shrouds to make it safe and make big and heavy so it still isn't safe and it's inefficient because of all the small props and the extra weight of all that nifty shrouding.

It would be voted best UFO looking UAV though so good for flying out around Roswell.

Realistically the Harwar and the Ayvon look very pro but also very expensive and the Sensefly looks very practical although presumably also not cheap.

Great fun!

Gary


3D Robotics
Comment by Daniel McKinnon on May 21, 2015 at 6:42am

@Nick Whoops, yes pentacopter, not heptacopter. Does that beast actually fly? No one was around when I was cruising the floor, so I couldn't ask any questions, but it looked quite robust for the prop size.

@Gary I didn't get pricing on the Harwar, but I heard both the eXom and Ayvon start around $40k.

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on May 21, 2015 at 6:44am

Any specific details on that Yamaha Fazer?  Hard to find data on this as Yamaha also use the name Fazer for a snowmbile and a motorcycle.  Just wondering how big it is, etc.


3D Robotics
Comment by Daniel McKinnon on May 21, 2015 at 12:15pm

@Rob I didn't get out a measuring tape, the product page with all the specs is here. It looks like it's about the same size as R-Max, but carries nearly twice the payload.

Comment by Dan Murray on May 22, 2015 at 11:22am

Here's a Fazer pic for you, Rob :)

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