I've been reading a lot lately about auto pilot boards for quadcopters and if all I read is true, today's technology is just too cool :)
I've been tinkering with RC stuff for many years now. Starting about 20 years ago with electric cars and trucks, moving up to nitro trucks, then RC planes and for the last 10 years or so, I've been a RC heli enthousiast.
Today, I own several RC helis starting with some micros all the way up to a Trex 600N nitro. I pilot all of those with my trustworthy DX7 radio and I,d say I'm an intermediate pilot. I do sport flying with only some really basic 3d, but I can handle loops, rolls and inverted flying no problem.
I've always been a DIY fan and I've been enjoying fiddling with my RC stuff for a long time, but I'm also a big computer and robotic fan so the more I read about those AP boards, the more I get interested.
But I always have the same question on my mind. Is this for real? I mean, I know it's real, but can a DIY quad drone equipped with APM 2.5 and ArduCopter really fly itself along some waypoints and return to it's launch location. All of this while I'm looking at it's live camera feed and telemetry on my laptop?
I know this is exactly what it is meant to do, but how good is it really at it? I read a lot of stuff about tuning complexity and all and not much real world showcase of a real drone flying a real circuit by itself.
I have access to a large field behing my parents cottage which is probably at least 1000ft x 1000ft. With a well built quad and a tuned APM 2.5 and all the required gear, would I really be able to attach my gopro and setup a flying path in the field and launch my drone so it can fly itself around the field while I can enjoy just looking at it?
How realist is this? I mean, I'm not afraid of tinkering/tuning, but I need to know if it's really achievable? Can some on you guys share some real world experience of this kind?
Also, how much would such a setup cost me? Am I right to think that I could build myself a pretty decent drone for something like 700-800$ ?
Thanks for sharing!