healthyfatboy's Posts (4)

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Ground/Air Drone Delivery


With all this talk about Amazon and other less serious drone delivery concepts out there, there has been a large amount of discussion regarding the feasibility of delivering a package via drone for same day delivery or general delivery. While I don't think this is really all that feasible from a logistical or safety point of view, the idea is interesting.

What would be more realistic in my mind is a better system where you have autonomous ground vehicles carrying packages and UAV's. The autonomous ground vehicles being developed by various companies like Google's self driving cars are getting better and closer to integration into society, although I'm sure the regulatory hurdles will be just as painful.

The basic concept is you have that autonomous ground vehicle, probably just like a UPS truck outfitted with sensors, carry packages around the city to delivery locations much like is currently done using people. Simple enough but that alone wouldn't get the package to your door as I know I wouldn't want a van driving through my lawn up to my door to "fling" a package at my house or door. Instead, the autonomous UPS/FedEx/whatever truck dispatches a mutlirotor of appropriate size with your package to go from truck to door. Ground navigation is hard enough on the road but getting around a cluttered yard or sidewalk is going to be really hard. With a quad/hex/octo, you could easily have it take off, fly over all the obstacles, drop the package off near the door, and head back to the truck to essentially charge itself back up.

A delivery truck is going to be large enough to carry all the sensors it needs for autonomous navigation as well as packages and delivery "drones". As seen just a couple of days ago, Tridge and the team have also demonstrated a milestone in getting ArduPlane running and flying an airplane using Linux and ArduCopter likely is close behind. With that comes all sorts of possibilities like running SLAM or other computer vision algorithms, which would aid in a multi dropping a package off at your door.

If you want to get around the FAA regulations too, tether each multi to the truck! Then it's considered a tethered object and no different than a kite! You'll need a way to keep the tether from getting to the blades but there are enough people out there like Jack Crossfire that could whip something like that up and take care of that issue. It's one way to get things rolling without waiting for the FAA to get their act together.

With Amazon's announcement of drone delivery, much of the speculation has focused and assumed a drone is going to go from a warehouse to your door, which rightfully so, with just one or two images and a video of an octo, that's what people are going to think. However practicality suggests that's really unrealistic. It's going to take something more than just some quads to implement a system like this but I get the feeling it's going to be a combination of autonomous UGV's with UAV's that will get the job done.

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Ground Based OSD


So after reading through the comments on this post, it got me thinking about the possibility of using the MinimOSD, or soon to be released jDrones MiniOSD, on the ground to have one less item up in the air. The appeal of keeping the aircraft light and a little less expensive, in the case of a flyaway or bad crash, makes me think this could be a good idea for those of us that have a more restrictive budget for UAV's.

Doing further research into what I need to get to be able to use an APM2 with an OSD, I decided to eventually buy the MinimOSD when I have the funds (or jDrones MiniOSD if it gets released). I then found this post about how the code was ported over to another different OSD hardware.

Then I remembered that I have one of these in my box of stuff I haven't gotten around to doing anything with.


There are many more capable people than me that could probably do this but how difficult would it be to take the code that runs on the MinimOSD and port it over to Arduino to run on the Nootropic Video Experimenter shield? The guy that produces these shields did a nice write up of displaying GPS data using this shield so it seems like it would be possible to do something similar.

Using this set of hardware, you could easily interface it with the video out of the video receiver in between the receiver and goggles/LCD and then tap into the ground station XBee to pull out the telemetry stream. Would it be difficult to port the code over? I've never done something like that before so I'm curious to find out if this is something that would be useful in any way so I have one less thing that could go wrong in the air.

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Inexpensive Thermal Camera

I don't know how useful this would be but I thought it would be something that could be attached to a quadrotor to do some thermal analysis for a home to determine how to increase the efficiency of the heating and cooling systems by reducing the losses around windows and doors.


(Image pulled from his website)

Here's where to find more information.


I'm tempted to get the materials just to run it to see how my house is!

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