Tell me what pains you about drones/UAVs. (VENT AT ME)

I've been fascinated by drones for quite some time, but have recently had the opportunity to join a university engineering team and we're looking to develop some sort of drone component. We've had a few great ideas so far, but we want to do some more research by asking actual thought leaders and seasoned hobbyists. 

I want to hear what really pains you about drones. What would make your life easier? How can we build something to fix your problems? Also, I'm very open to having a Skype call!

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    • The best point Hugues!
      Drone which is predictable, consistent and do not surprise.
      • or one that doesn't disarm on radio link loss, that's my wish....

  • The word Drone!  There is no thinking, self learning, centrally controlled robot out to destroy the human race who created it.  At least not yet.  The word "drone" is now a negative because of movies and the label the military weapons systems have been given.  Call them what they are!  Remotely controlled vehicles, Remotely piloted vehicles etc.  

  • Better PR for drones. We have to get the uneducated general public on our side. People don't understand them, it is easier for them to say drones should be banned and get their congressmen to agree with them.

    When people design a new platform they should be conscious on how it looks, it needs to look less Darth Vader, military, arachnid and more Yoda, peaceful, fluffy kitty. Not to mention flying it responsibly.

  • I think Gary hit the nail on the head, in a somewhat convoluted way.

    Drone customers want something that you tell them is specially designed for them.  The market has been moving that way for some time now.

    People want something that looks cool, and they don't care that adding those funky arms or cowling decreases their efficiency. They want a motor that is specially designed just for their application, and don't really care that a motor is a motor.

    The problem is that you can't just package up 2 sticks, 4 ESCs, and 4 motors.  You have to make it look slick and convince them that your special propeller, motor, and ESC combination is the best.

    That is what the market wants, but not what the market needs.  In reality the radio is the most archaic part of the equation.  They're too low power, and all use analog signals.

    The APM even uses analog signals for on-board inter-processor communication!

    One other place for improvement is the ESCs.  They are behind the times.  They should be using a FOC driving scheme and providing feedback to the autopilot on RPM, temp, operating status, etc..

    Everything else has essentially evolved to near perfection.  Motors, props, etc. are not going to get any better.  They can be better branded and marketed though, like most other consumer products.

    Radios need major improvement.  I can legally transmit 4 watts on the 900mhz band, yet there's no radio out there that I'm aware of for me to buy.  So I'm stuck with 100mW in a crappy, very crowded band (2.4g).

    Speaking of that, video transmission needs a major upgrade also.  Somehow the marketing departments have convinced people that "more G's = better" so now we have a lot of crappy video gear in 2.4g and 5g bands.  People should be fighting over the lowest frequencies they can get since you get much greater transmission distance for the same power and less line-of-sight issues.

    We really need full power digital (or even analog) video transmission on a decent band.  Without that many doors remain closed, since you can't get decent range reliably with current gear.

    • Try a 433 mhz control link.   Nominal power is 150 to 200mw which is good for more than 5 miles in the real world.   not enough power?   Switch to high power (now you have 500 to 600mw... 6dB more power)  still not enough power?   Buy an external 2w in 20w out booster and a rooftop antenna... the amp can be had for 20 bucks at a hamfest.   

      As for video, try 1.2 GHz   antenna size is manageable and 300mw easily does 5 miles.   

      As for telemetry I get more than 5 miles out of the 915 MHz 100mw gear and a $5 pcb yagi.

      • Your numbers are way off.

        You also most likely can't legally transmit more than 10mW on the 433 band, so let's not talk about wildly illegal transmitters that don't exist.

        • Jake my numbers are backed up with hundreds of hours of flight time.  As for legal power emission, I can transmit up to 1500 watts on all the frequencies mentioned above because I am licensed ham radio operator in the US.  

          FWIW, all the frequencies in common use by this hobby are in amateur radio bands. (2.4 and 5.8 included) Most countries allow you to emit up to 25mW or 100mW without a license which is one of the key reasons why hobby grade gear sold around the world emits 100mW or less.

          Here is the US band plan... very similar but not identical around the world. ham bands

          you will find hundreds of examples of flights more than 5 miles here: 

          examples of distance

          Band Plan
          The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is the national association for amateur radio, connecting hams around the U.S. with news, information and reso…
          • The numbers you quote are significantly larger than even the exaggerated claims that manufacturers make.  Potentially possible with advanced antenna setups, but you shouldn't throw out unqualified numbers like that.

            1.2g video will not go 5 miles on 300mW.  Just looked up some specs and one seller claims 400mw to have a range of "400m-800m(open area)".  That's 1/2 mile, best case.

            I'm not looking to argue here, just pointing out that you look like you don't have a clue when you throw out wild numbers like that.  Word to the wise.

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