All Blog Posts (13,584)

3D Robotics
Auto-stabilized camera mount 2.0: better, cheaper, faster!

I spent a few hours yesterday trying to perfect the gyro-stabilized camera (shown) in preparation for a test flight today. But even when I tweaked the settings it wouldn't take long before the gyro lost track of where "down" was and it ended up with the camera assembly at… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on December 8, 2007 at 5:10am — 18 Comments

3D Robotics
UAV report: Tel Aviv

For UAV geeks, Israel really is the promised land. No country is more advanced in the use of UAVs, small and large, and the second Lebanon war was a state-of-the-art example of ubiquitous eye-in-the-sky presence. I'm in Tel Aviv today, and I took the opportunity to hang out with the best of the bunch. Here's a brief report.

The picture at right… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on December 6, 2007 at 4:43pm — 5 Comments

3D Robotics
SparkFun IMU + open source Kalman filter = awesome

At risk of being even more of a Tom Pycke fanboy, here's one for the hard-core geeks among you. Our Belgian UAV whiz has released nicely commented code for that cool SparkFun 5… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on December 6, 2007 at 1:58pm — No Comments

Amateur vs. pro

Reading definitely puts the amateur UAV business into perspective. If U want to work for a Lockheed or a Boeing, a top engineering degree from MIT is pretty much the price of admission. The qualifications they hired for the Hummingbird UAV make U want to hang up your transmitter and go into used cars.

Added by Jack Crossfire on December 4, 2007 at 4:40pm — 1 Comment

3D Robotics
A Global Hawk model ready to be UAV'd

There are plenty of Predator R/C models ready to be turned into proper UAVs, but where are the Global Hawks? One of the answers is that the full-size UAV is a jet, not a prop plane, so that complicates the power plant, and then there's the small matter of its huge wingspan and stumpy ("short-coupled") body, which doesn't bode well for… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on December 2, 2007 at 11:00am — No Comments

3D Robotics
BASIC Stamp UAV code now in beta

This post describes the beta version of BASIC Stamp autopilot code. As mentioned in my last post, the two main challenges in this project were dealing with the constraints of integer-only math and a severely restricted variable space (just 26 bytes!).

The first one I got around by treating fractional degrees as full degrees (since the UAV is never going to travel more than one full degree…


Added by Chris Anderson on December 2, 2007 at 12:30am — 32 Comments

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…


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…


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…


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,…


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

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