November 2007 Blog Posts (21)

3D Robotics
OpenAerialMap: like a wikified GoogleMaps

We love GoogleMaps, but one of the problems with it is that you can't really add your own data to it. Sure, you can superimpose your imagery on a GoogleMaps layer, but it won't show unless people use a special URL. That's the reason for the creation of OpenAerialMap.…


Added by Chris Anderson on November 30, 2007 at 3:43pm — 3 Comments

Flyingwings Ltd UK

Hi my name is Rob Swynnerton, i run a small company, We manufacture a range of EPP models, wings etc. We also make parts for UAV contractors and this has sparked my imagination, what would be a great UAV test platform ? What size, payload capacity, what would be better than a commercially available model ie twin jet etc. Designs that inspire me are the Desert Hawk and the Raven, small micro UAV's with a wingspan of around…


Added by Rob Swynnerton on November 29, 2007 at 3:19pm — 11 Comments

Observer Airframe, now heres a challenge

From an email that Rob just sent... Now I'm sure we all have ideas for what we would like in an airframe.

If you put it here I'll make sure he reads this thread.

The desert hawk is epp, and so are others being developed. We are producing airframes

for a major UK military contractor, its gone UAV crazy over here with a massive dedicated centre being built here in Bristol.

It would be good fun to create a…


Added by Gary Mortimer on November 29, 2007 at 1:02am — 1 Comment

3D Robotics
Finally, FAA rules on small UAVs in the works?

If you missed it in the news feed at the lower left, the FAA is making some progress on a common-sense regulatory framework for small UAVs like ours (at the moment, we're all flying under some outmoded 1980s guidelines that are, to be generous, a legal gray area). I like the sound of a category for small UAVs that recognizes their limited risk, but my concern in the below is the phrase "vehicles would have to be kept within sight of the operators" part (it's not clear if that would apply both… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on November 29, 2007 at 12:14am — 1 Comment

Another airframe

Whilst flicking through the pages of a magazine, I came across....

The only down side for South Africa and in particular up here in the mountains is the size, probably can't lift a camera as well with a high density altitude.

I send an email off to Flying Wings asking for a bigger one and Robert Swynnerton very quickly replied that they were building one for our very purpose that would be available soon.

Called the…


Added by Gary Mortimer on November 28, 2007 at 11:43am — No Comments

Virginia Tech UAV

This is a nice writeup on a UAV built by student group at Virginia Tech. Not cheap; but a nice setup.

Added by Jason on November 27, 2007 at 10:51pm — 2 Comments

3D Robotics
Lego GPS autopilot code now in beta!

Big news: we've finally got a version of the Lego UAV that's based on GPS! The previous versions used a compass sensor as a proof of concept, but we've now upgraded it to use a third-party GPS receiver, connecting to the Mindstorms NXT brick by Bluetooth. This allows us to employ… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on November 26, 2007 at 8:31am — 8 Comments

3D Robotics
Cellphone UAV code now in beta, available here

In my focus on the Lego UAV, I forgot to mention that I've also uploaded the Visual Basic source code for our cellphone autopilot. It's in pretty good shape, and just needs a little more tweaking for reliable airbone use. If you're comfortable with Visual Studio and Windows…


Added by Chris Anderson on November 26, 2007 at 12:00am — 3 Comments

3D Robotics
Impressive new quadrotor UAV with camera board

You may have missed it in the discussion threads at left, but Howard Gordon has been doing some terrific work combining his robot and camera control boards with UAV platforms. The latest uses the quadcopter platform that the X-UFO/X3D guys in Germany developed. Check out his full post…


Added by Chris Anderson on November 25, 2007 at 5:19pm — No Comments

UAV causes media stir.

Go here first.

Is more being made of this than is necessary?? I wonder why the reporters spin did not point towards the environmental benefit of UAV's less gas than the helicopter. The newscopter that was chasing, is that not invading the privacy of some police officers on a private farm??…


Added by Gary Mortimer on November 23, 2007 at 2:12am — 7 Comments

3D Robotics
A budget for a high-end amateur UAV

An amateur UAV maker in Los Angeles built a UAV designed to fly 21 miles, from Long Beach to Catalina Island and back. It was notable especially for having the motor moved to a pylon above the wing and a pan-tilt gimbal camera put in the nose instead (see picture). This thread about it on RC…


Added by Chris Anderson on November 22, 2007 at 10:32pm — No Comments

3D Robotics
Use an open-source flight simulator to test your UAVs

Tom Pycke, who is one of the more sophisticated UAV hobbyists, has a good post showing how to use the open-source Flight Gear simulator program to test your autopilot code.

He begins:

"A lot of people think they need great electronics skills, a lot of time, and embedded programming skills to experiment with Kalman filtering of IMU-data. Think again! The key to all your success stories is…


Added by Chris Anderson on November 21, 2007 at 8:23pm — 4 Comments

3D Robotics
MAKE magazine on DIY blimp UAVs

The cover of MAKE magazine this month is a how-to on "blubberbots", which are small indoor blimp UAVs (story only for subscribers for the moment--subscribe! It's worth it). You can buy a kit from the MAKE store for $99 that will allow…


Added by Chris Anderson on November 18, 2007 at 5:23pm — 2 Comments

3D Robotics
Antarctic mini-UAVs--will they come back?!?

These scientists describe their UAV project at the South Pole. Sound familiar?

"Flying a mission is always a little scary. Tom, the project engineer and pilot, stands by with his remote control and flies it a little until a stable flight is acheived, then…


Added by Chris Anderson on November 18, 2007 at 5:06pm — 8 Comments

3D Robotics
The best programming language for Lego Mindstorms, hands down

Play around with Lego Mindstorms NXT enough and at some point you'll inevitably get frustrated with NXT-G, its graphical programming language of "blocks" that you drag around and connect with "wires". It's great for teaching kids the basics, but once they embark on anything remotely ambitious they're bound to run into trouble. Whether it's the crazy sprawl of blocks over the work area (even a simple loop can require screens of slow horizontal scrolling), the lack of floating point…


Added by Chris Anderson on November 12, 2007 at 3:22pm — 6 Comments

Interesting looking airframe

Whilst perusing RC groups I came across this challenger review, looks just the job for aerial photos, combining size (lifting ability) and a rear mounted engine. I'm sure it would'nt take too much effort to make this a tail dragger. No prop in forward facing shots.

Whilst your there its worth having a look at… Continue

Added by Gary Mortimer on November 5, 2007 at 1:09pm — 3 Comments

3D Robotics
Watch the DARPA Urban Challenge Live--NOW!

If you ask me, this is better than NASCAR. The DARPA Urban Challenge (robot cars race though a town) is being webcast live now.

Very well done live video is here, with color commentators, helicopter views and tons of team cams. Go…


Added by Chris Anderson on November 3, 2007 at 10:40am — 3 Comments

Load Calculator links

Well good old Google as ever comes up trumps...

I'm sure there are many others that people know about.

Perhaps there should be a page of useful…


Added by Gary Mortimer on November 1, 2007 at 10:53pm — No Comments

Tring to get started

So i found this page after i watched the DIY UAV segment on wired the other day, and it has been something that i have been interesting in trying to do ever since i saw the preditor and the global hawk. But i just didnt know where to start, and the ideas that i had would have ended up costing thousand of dollars. so im really happy to find a group of people interested in doing the same thing.

so enogh about that. i was looking around the interenet today tring to find suitable aircraft… Continue

Added by uavdiyutah on November 1, 2007 at 6:26pm — 7 Comments

And on looking at the E6B

It would seem that being +30 at 4000' means something, which of course I already knew, but just what is the drop in performance on a 50 odd inch wing trainer??

What magic program or website could tell me that to lift lets say an extra 1KG of equipment at a density altitude of 7000' the aircraft would need to be X wingspan with Y power up front??

There must be…


Added by Gary Mortimer on November 1, 2007 at 10:52am — No Comments

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