• There was an extensive discussion on this very same topic.  I just got my free first month trial in my inbox.

    • Back to Ian Smith-

      What about a reduced feature-set system that can interface with PixHawk via the CAN bus, and y'all add control modules to Tower. Just about anyone in this business can follow an installation guide for a payload control kit. Your system is designed for professionals, which was my impression, so pitch me like one.

      My concern here is that we are going to fork the development path of the Iris+ system and end in a place where FAA, potentially, cannot certify one version of the Iris due to 2 different developers providing flight/payload control schema. I read the sheet on the Iris-M and it left me scratching my head.... why would 3DR want to lose that much config control of their system?

      You follow where I'm going with this discussion?

    • Hey David, while I can't answer on releasing a reduced feature-set system for PixHawk, we obviously want as many different types of people as possible to use our service but it also needs to be easily accessible. We have so many different types of clients (not just the very knowledgable professionals like yourselves) and over time we want to appeal to all of them and have great solutions for every use case.

      Being mainly a software startup, any decisions on what to do with producing hardware are very critical and affect where we can focus the majority of our efforts.

      I hope this can give you a bit more insight as to our current compatibility. We're working hard on our end to make the best service possible but we also need to reduce confusion on compatibility!



    • So as a software company, maybe do the functional enablement part, and code to the PixHawk ICD, and the hardware vendor for your solutions provides a turnkey [host] system that is non-impact on the Pixhawk configuration. (And btw, are you ready to work with the FAA to certify the safety of your software to control a flying UAV in airspace?)

      So, where I'm going...I originally thought y'all provided a means to C2 a mUAV over the cell network to your Co-Pilot mini-computer mounted on the quad-copter... so that it was a plug-in to the Iris and provided a solid BVLOS solution using cellular broadband as the C2-TLM loop pathway. (longer range and reliability than the 915 mHz transceivers 3DR sells)

      Right now NASA-Ames's UAV programs are looking to work with Verizon Wireless to provide drone airspace coord/control over their cellular net... and I presume, ADS-B and a form of sense and avoid to keep the mUAVs out of controlled airspace... or at least command them out of harms way when they get too close to manned aircraft. (for damn sure this is coming....jerks in the Northeast are making sure it happens by flying DJI Phantoms too close to LaGuardia etc)

      That then presumes systems like 3DR's Iris (and Drone Deploy?) are under a similar config control regimen to manned aircraft, in that the rigor required to control software & hardware configurations supports the airspace safety requirements required to "graduate" into FAA certifiab-ility standards for us profit-hopeful drone operators/businessmen. (yes Ian...I need an "N" number on my Iris or FireFly6 if I want to do drone-for-hire)

      In other words...the hobby shop days are coming close to an end... if my Iris or Firefly6 can fly upto 8 miles away from me on a battery charge... then the FAA will REQUIRE those systems' Autopilots & software conform to minimal safety standards. No more jacking with the entire fleet of Pixhawk-equipped mUAVs by sending out insufficiently tested firmware updates... and then simply marvel at the sort of awe-shoot stuff that can cause harm when drones start flying crazy.

    • Now that I'm done Googling all your references I have a few thoughts. 

      1. I think that average Joe should not be flying commercially. As it stands now, flying without a true operator (with a TX) is risky. I question the reliability of just sending a drone out through a tablet device, especially a Phantom. (or for that matter any 3DR product) 

      2. Farmers and construction folk want to do their jobs. The drone operator will become a position in a company or they will hire an outside firm. 

      3. Flying a drone for a company or farm may not be commercial, but I believe the FAA rules for commercial certifications should apply. Many projects can/will be in the heart of a city's downtown. One drone through a windshield and then what? GPS is dicey at best in downtown area. 

      4. I believe at some point 5+ years from now there will be below 500 ft Air Traffic Control. I see no reason why a decent obstacle avoidance system would not work unless y'all are hauling ass. 

      5. BVLOS? Amazon and others are hoping this is going to work. I think it will not work for many obvious reasons. (Theft, Privacy, Driver distraction, Public nuisance, Accuracy, System Failure, Distance) 

      These are opinions. The way the above reads we are headed in to the era of "Big Drone" e.g. Big Pharma. Hobbyists, or just people who have bought a drone, are making headlines daily with foolish stunts and mistakes. Giving them or others an easier way to get a drone in the sky is a mistake. Drone companies (Lily) make it seem too easy. The amount of research I have done to get a 70% success rate is akin to a year in college. I thought HDOP is where you got pancakes. 

      These system, as they stand, have no secondary safety systems, are buggy as hell and are getting bigger and faster. A drone to airliner incident is eminent. 

      I understand you want to make money. I want to make money. We ALL want to make money!!! This is a toy-like device that is deceptively easy to operate safely. The way it's going we are in danger of being shut down completely because a few guys want to strap Roman Candles on a Phantom and get on YouTube. 

    • Amen Jimy. I am not conversant in HDOP....and I used to "fly" GPS satellites at one time in my [old] Air Force career!

      So, after spending some time @ Ames trying to win some business a couple years back, I saw what they were using for "test" items for some software development projects (for UAV sense/avoid/autonomy) and damn if they weren't APMs and [early] Pixhawks.

      Trying to get those software routines packed into the "small" architecture of the APM is proving to be a challenge... but I bet they get there. Some of Ames's sense/avoid software has been field tested to success, (remember reading an article on it last January).

      I'm wanting to do pipeline survey with my UAVs after I saw a pipeline survey pilot damn near pitch-in his beater-Cessna near my house a few months back.... that would have been a real mess.

    • Jimmy, I really enjoyed reading your thoughts.

      The amount of research I have done to get a 70% success rate is akin to a year in college. I thought HDOP is where you got pancakes.

      Whether any of us like it or not, it's going to become easier and easier to get a drone into the sky wherever you may be. It's a very complex situation that cannot be taken lightly. I try to do my best, on a personal level, to advocate safety and common sense wherever possible when operating these machines!

    • Morning David,

      Yes, we are actually already working quite closely with NASA-Ames as well as Verizon on accomplishing all these things. I come from a helicopter background so I may have a slightly different personal viewpoint on the N-number requirement though I still totally understand the frustration that can cause for those who have relatively inconsequential operations.

      Anyhow, we may have gotten a bit off-topic here. It's nice chatting with you guys, there's a very high-quality community on this forum.

    • Cool - y'all are heading in the right direction. IMHO

  • I don't use it but am also interested. After researching I found it was too pricey for me. I own Iris+ and you need to buy a unit for that. I also do Ag, Mining and Construction flying and can't afford to buy all three packages (much less one) per month. I was hoping they would have different pricing for 3rd party guys like me. I'll stick with Pix4D for now. 

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