Disabled veteran with a patent pending drone system needs YOUR help please.

I hope some of you will help me, I see many posts where nobody gets help or advice. I am putting together a prototype quad for a system i am developing for law enforcement. I have been desig ing for a long time and its time to compile a list of components. With all the choices out there i am hoping you can assist me in narrowing the field. I am trying to achieve a functioning drone for as much flight time as possible. I need an array of sensors to help create a semi autonomous aircraft which is only a part of the system I am creating at the end of the campaign. To get more investors I need a functional physical prototype. Prove the concept is my goal. I am a disabled veteran , I was a mechanic and pilot of helicopters and have had many r/c airplanes over the years but this is more complex. Anyone help me start with a list of hardware to start buying so I can assemble a drone that is upgradable? I am looking at a max weight with flir and 4K camera combo of around 2-2.5 kg. Thanks in advance everyone.

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When I begin adding sensors I do that through the raspberry? Or pixhawk? 

Christopher Harvey said:

Awesome. I appreciate any and all advice, I have an engineer that can do the programming I just need to know the best hardware for him.

MattMGN said:

The best combo and widely used is Pixhawk with Raspberry Pi as described here http://ardupilot.org/dev/docs/raspberry-pi-via-mavlink.html

'I need to be a coder to work either' --> You will need at least to understand linux commands. And depending on your application, code your own scripts

Christopher Harvey said:

So...is arduino with raspberry better than pixhawk and raspberry and do I need to be a coder to work either?

It depends what kind of informations you want to get :

Those sensors can be used directly on Pixhawk through firmware settings https://docs.px4.io/en/getting_started/sensor_selection.html

https://pixhawk.org/peripherals/rangefinder

If you want to add sensor not yet supported directly on Pixhawk, you can modify the firmware at your own risk. 

Otherwise, you can read and process data from your sensors through RPi and send MAVLINK command to your Pixhawk.

SENSOR --> RPi (with your processing scripts) ----- MAVLINK cmd -----> PIXHAWK

Christopher Harvey said:

When I begin adding sensors I do that through the raspberry? Or pixhawk? 

Christopher Harvey said:

Awesome. I appreciate any and all advice, I have an engineer that can do the programming I just need to know the best hardware for him.

Buy a 3DR Solo - upgrade it with a Pixhawk Greencube.  At that point you have a really solid drone with Pixhawk 2.1 controller - without spending a large chunk of change.

It's weight is 1.5kg and estimated flight time is 25 minutes (that's probably optimistic).

You can add a GoPro and Gimbal - not cheap but it works, gives your remote video and remote control.

There's probably other solutions - but if you want to do development - the Pixhawk has a very large open-source community with a lot of people who will help.  And the 3DR community has a pretty large mailing list that shares experience.

A quick read here leads me to advise you to have a very good read of the ardupilot web site.

If you want to build a multirotor drone with semi autonomous capabilities, this is the best place to start.

http://ardupilot.org/copter/

All the answers to your questions are found there.

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