Rob_Lefebvre's Blog (32)

NASA Chooses Helicopter For MARS Drone

(Originally posted on NOVAerial Robotics Blog)

NASA is now planning on using a UAV in addition to the Rover in order to explore Mars.  The reasons are very simple, and parallel the desire to use UAV’s on earth.  Having a camera in the air, instead of being stuck on the ground, allows for better…


Added by Rob_Lefebvre on September 2, 2016 at 10:53am — 9 Comments

Announcing Formation of Autonomous Systems Cooperative

Today I am pleased to announce the formation of a new commercial support company which I have founded in combination with Bill Bonney (creator of MAVPilot and maintainer of…


Added by Rob_Lefebvre on April 7, 2016 at 2:00pm — 20 Comments

Long-Line Sensor Payload Demonstration

Today I did something a little bit unusual, and definitely more difficult than flying around with a camera. A possible commercial customer asked to see a demonstration of a helicopter flying with a 2.5kg sensor.  This sort of thing is commonly done for magnetometer surveys for mining exploration.  The sensitive sensor must be hung from a long line in…


Added by Rob_Lefebvre on March 19, 2016 at 6:00pm — 10 Comments

Canberra UAV Demonstrates Helicopter Flight with Downstream FBL Controller

I wanted to bring attention to the work that Tridge and the rest of the CUAV team have done to demonstrate the possibility of flying a Helicopter with a standard FBL controller handling the rate control duties.  They have been testing gas powered helicopter for next round of the Outback Challenge which will require a long-range VTOL aircraft.  Helicopters are a…


Added by Rob_Lefebvre on March 10, 2016 at 2:30pm — 47 Comments

Novel UAV Airplane Launch and Recovery System

FLARES - Flying Launch and Recovery System from Insitu on Vimeo.

Recently I ran across this really interesting…


Added by Rob_Lefebvre on October 31, 2015 at 6:44pm — 14 Comments

New Drone Service Tests Commercial Usage Laws in Canada

This just popped up on a Canadian Commercial Operator Facebook group and we're discussing the implications and legal…


Added by Rob_Lefebvre on March 20, 2015 at 8:58am — 19 Comments

CBC Documentary: The Age of the Drone

On February 19th at 9PM, the Canadian Broadcast Corporation will air a new documentary on drones, following up the one they did last year called Remote Controlled War.  Last year's was more focused on the military aspects, this new one is more commercial/recreational.

I'm not sure what the availability will be for those outside Canada.  Hopefully our…


Added by Rob_Lefebvre on February 18, 2015 at 8:13pm — 3 Comments

Iris/Pixhawk Cold Weather Testing

Last weekend I drove up north a bit for some real cold weather testing of my Iris+ equiped with Pixhawk.  I had to get up early in the morning to catch -30C temperatures which is about as cold as I'm interested in testing.  At -30C, my gloved fingers froze after a few minutes.  Not quite frostbite, but deep into pain territory.



Added by Rob_Lefebvre on February 18, 2015 at 5:00pm — 27 Comments

Canada to Regulate Recreational Flights Like Commercial

I'm not sure if anybody who is not a member of Unmanned Systems Canada can see this report or not:

So I will summarize:  At a meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal last week,…


Added by Rob_Lefebvre on February 11, 2015 at 1:30pm — 7 Comments

Oh Look. Yet another quadcopter goes over $1M on Kickstarter.

I don't really even know what to say anymore. It has 4 motors.  And a camera. And wifi control. This one has a flash light source though, so that's new.  …


Added by Rob_Lefebvre on January 6, 2015 at 2:39pm — 47 Comments Forums Temporarily Down

This is just a quick note to say that the was down temporarily due to server issues.  

Added by Rob_Lefebvre on December 19, 2014 at 12:30pm — 14 Comments

New Transport Canada UAV Regulations Arrive!

Well, the moment we have all been waiting for in Canada is finally here.  Transport Canada has published the new UAV regulations.  It is important to understand that these regulations effectively come in 2 parts.  Basically, you have one set of regulations for UAV's less than 25kg and for simple operations.  Then another set for UAV's larger than 25kg and/or…


Added by Rob_Lefebvre on November 27, 2014 at 7:46pm — 41 Comments

Small Electric Helicopter 108km/h Auto Flight

Another recent accomplishment with the Helicopter version of Arducopter was this full auto speed run which achieved a top speed of 30 m/s or 108 km/h.  This was done using 3.2 which features improvements to the helicopter flight dynamics code, as well as Spline Waypoints which is a general Arducopter feature.  I find the Spline nav really helps…


Added by Rob_Lefebvre on September 22, 2014 at 4:13pm — 30 Comments

Arducopter Flies Gas Powered Helicopter

Now we're cooking with gas!

I have just completed a project to build a helicopter with a gasoline engine, controlled by Arducopter (of course!)  This helicopter serves as a test bed for future gas heli development work for a client of mine.  The goal was to prove out that it could be done.  Gas engines pose a unique challenge for Arducopter due…


Added by Rob_Lefebvre on September 20, 2014 at 11:20am — 53 Comments

Helicopter Presents Attractive Alternative to Multi-rotors and Fixed-wing UAVs

I've been working on a new helicopter platform the last few months. Based on an MSH Protos heli which I chose because it's an extremely light weight platform, weighing in at only ~1200g without battery. It has a full belt drive which I much prefer to gears as it's quieter, lower vibration and more reliable. I've had a few problems with…


Added by Rob_Lefebvre on February 3, 2014 at 1:10pm — 334 Comments

Merry Christmas and a Happy New ACRO!

3.1 was released just in time for the holidays, but I felt the new Acro Mode we have developed has not been adequately demonstrated.  So I shot this video to show that Arducopter now has a competent Acro mode to go along with all the other functions.  This is kind of a big deal to me, as I am interested in learning acrobatic flying, but I really appreciate having…


Added by Rob_Lefebvre on December 24, 2013 at 7:01pm — 16 Comments

Group Attempts Prison Contraband Deliver with Hexacopter

I think this is actually the second attempt at this.  Wasn't there one last year?  Good to see that they actually caught the people involved and arrested them.  Hopefully it won't result in a knee-jerk reaction, but I doubt it.  The article is horribly written, but at least they didn't call it a "drone".…


Added by Rob_Lefebvre on November 27, 2013 at 4:15am — 7 Comments

Extreme Arducoptering


On Friday we experienced very high winds, 60-90km/h, or Beaufort 7-8, this caused damage in the area, actually knocking over some trees, etc.  I decided to go out and test the wind performance of my F450 quadcopter, see if it's even possible to fly a quad in such conditions, and test the inertial Loiter performance.


Overall, it went fairly well.  Flight…


Added by Rob_Lefebvre on November 3, 2013 at 6:30am — 6 Comments

Sony Releases Stand-Alone Imager

Less than one month ago I predicted that eventually DSLR's as we know them will disappear, and instead you will buy lenses with the imaging chip (CMOS) built right in to the back of the lens.  Then you will only attach a simple body to it that gives you IO and a viewing monitor.  This is because CMOS chips are constantly coming down in price, but…


Added by Rob_Lefebvre on September 5, 2013 at 11:57am — 38 Comments

Large Heli Full Auto Ride-along

I did some more flights on the weekend to test out my branch of Arducopter 3.0.1 -THdev and wanted to show what it's like from on-board the heli in a reasonably high-speed run.  This run used 12 waypoints to form a rectangular pattern with rounded corners around the flying field, trying to achieve a nice smooth flight path.  I still haven't been…


Added by Rob_Lefebvre on August 19, 2013 at 5:19pm — 15 Comments

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