I work with a sheriff's department in Arizona USA and while not always available, air support is our most powerful ally. I am interested in the use of a quadcopter platform for the specialized use of Search and Rescue. With the development of the autopilot software and being able to set waypoints, these types of aircraft are an extremely viable option for being able to fly grids with a camera. I am wondering if anyone can help get me started! I have some experience with circuits but can learn! I would appreciate any feedback...help....(criticism) etc.
You might have better luck with a platform that has a longer range. From my experience the diy level quadcopters only have a short flight time. Event38.com has a great starting level mapping platform that you could adapt. Any when you are ready to map orthomaps, 3d models and dems -- check out dronemapper.com
You can catch up with what has happened so far in that space here http://www.suasnews.com/epubs/ and we recently talked search and rescue on our podcast http://www.blogtalkradio.com/suasnews/2012/05/09/suas-search-and-re... There will be a book launch soon which will detail best practices.
Best of luck for you research
Hey James, what organization are you with? I was a member of CAMRA/MCSOMR several years ago and I'd be interested in working with you. As has been said, quads (multicopters) have very short endurance. It's difficult to even achieve 30 minutes and then you would not be able to carry much payload. What type of payload are you looking to carry?
I don't want to put team affiliation up on the internet just because this is not an "official" team thing (my county covers flat iron) but send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be readily open to the possibility of working with you.