...something beautiful is born.
Just this week, after a suggestion from one of the Kickstarter backers, we are now collaborating with Quantum Robotics, pairing our R10 Advanced Quadrotor system with the Quantum Robotics Q2 XBee Handheld Controller, a programmable, customizable and hackable XBee controller that you may have seen before
There's more details here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1101297082/r10-quadrotor-powerf...
The R10 Advanced has a GPS/XBee module that handles autopilot and telemetry, which can be used as an alternative to a regular RC transmitter (or used in conjunction with a regular transmitter to send telemetry to a laptop)
But we realized that it also makes it completely compatible with the Quantum Robotics XBee Handhel Controllers (we'll ensure that they're fitted with the correct XBee units), which would be able to send the R10 manual control information, either using MAVLink version 3's MAVLINK_MSG_ID_MANUAL_CONTROL, which is what the R10 is set up with currently, or by some other protocol. We'll be working closely with Quantum Robotics to see if they'll support the latest version of MAVLink on their controller so that it can be used with other craft. We also want to use the display for battery levels.
The extra potentiometers on the transmitter would be excellent for fine-trimming controls, tuning the craft's flight dynamics or sensitivities on the fly, or controlling extra servos, like altering the default position of a stabilized camera gimbal! So this is definitely a very exciting opportunity for us, and we will be exploring the full possibilities soon.
The VERY interesting thing is that with all the extra buttons and switches on the controller, along with the mesh network/broadcast capabilities of the XBee, there'll be a possibility in the future of controlling a fleet of craft from a single Quantum Robotics Q2 XBee Handheld Controller using the buttons/switches to toggle control between individual quadrotors (the other quadrotors would have to be put into GPS hold). Could potentially allow a single person (presumably with super-human multi-tasking capabilities) to control a load of quadrotors to film an event from all different angles.
This is something we're keen to test out, but we'll keep that for later.
We've added a pledge level on our Kickstarter that would let people grab an R10 Advanced with a Q2 XBee Controller (we'll be fitting the controller with an XBee ZB Pro needed for compatibility).