I can't understand how a foam wing with a simple RTL autopilot (not including GoPro) costs $1,250, but that's what Lehmann Aviation from France is now offering. What am I missing?

From Gizmag:

Like the Swinglet CAM UAV, the LA100 follows a pre-programmed flight path, but unlike the Swinglet, the LA100's flight path can't be customized or overridden by remote control. This is because the aircraft is targeted specifically at users with no piloting background. After a few minutes of capturing footage from a height of 80 to 100 meters (262 – 328 ft) with no input from the user on the ground, the hand-launched LA100 returns to the launch site for a horizontal landing.

The LA100 is a hand-launched UAV

With the ability to fly at speeds of 20 to 80 km/h (12 – 50 mph) for periods of up to five minutes, the LA100 has a range of up to 0.5 km (0.3 miles). It can also fly in winds of up to 45 km/h (28 mph) and in temperatures from -25° C to 60° C (-13° F to 140° F). The UAV has a wingspan of 92 cm (36 in) and length of 45 cm (18 in). Made mostly of foam and carbon fiber, the LA100 weighs around 850 g (30 oz), including a mounted GoPro camera.

A camera can be mounted on top of the wing to capture oblique images or at the bottom of the wing for vertical images. It can also fly with two GoPros on board at the same time. However, buyers will have to supply their GoPros as they aren't included in the purchase price.

The LA100 is priced at €990 (US$1,275) and will come ready to fly from December, 2012. Lehmann Aviation says it plans to roll out hardware and software upgrades for the LA100 on a regular basis.

The video below shows the LA100 and some of the aerial images captured with it.

LA100 UAV from Lehmann Aviation on Vimeo.

Views: 9010

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on November 23, 2012 at 12:21pm

Leigh, I don't at all question the reason why POV cameras are popular.  I was a relatively early adopter too.  But I went with the Contour.  I use it in a lot of situations, and I have never ever wished that it was square.  That's my point, just the shape of the thing.  

Well, I also can't stand the video from the GoPro because there's way too much barrel distortion.

But the only advantage that I can see to the square shape is when using it on a chest rig, and I've never wanted to do that.  I'm sure the video of my gas tank on my bike wouldn't be very interesting.  ;)

Comment by Jack Crossfire on November 23, 2012 at 12:50pm

It's not much higher than a $500 arducopter.

Comment by Melih Karakelle on November 23, 2012 at 5:33pm

I guess the price is OK and very good for most of people except DIY community. 
I didnt understand why people reacting like "it is expensive!!!" 
Why? If you dont want to buy it, it is not for you. that's all. 
This price is better than %99 of working systems. Ok, Ardupilot is 200$. But who paid only 200$ for flying since started to building something like that?. For me, I paid more than 2000$ to only batteries and ESCs since 10 years. And already I dont have the device something like that :) 

It is very very good offer for plug and play guys. 

Comment by Joshua Ott on November 23, 2012 at 8:12pm

Every customer must sign a pledge to only use this above open fields away from any development! No RC control at all demands a very sophisticated sense and avoid capability, especially with autonomous only landings. Does this craft know which way the wind is blowing, can it see trees, power lines, and baby carriages?! As a bonus you can mount your camera on the bottom of the wing so you can autonomously land on it!

Comment by Joshua Ott on November 24, 2012 at 2:00am

Ramboky, The APM has fully autonomous flight with RC control a flip of the switch away. Whenever ever I switch into autonomous mode there is a bit of apprehension and awareness, this is a vital component to "piloting" a UAV. The baby carriage is the worst case scenario that I use to guide my mission planning. Sure it's an extreme "what if", but it's something I never want to happen when I'm pilot in command on the ground.

Lehmann says- "the aircraft is targeted specifically at users with no piloting background". To me that is a huge leap in the tech, and if it can do that safely then it probably needs to cost a lot more than $1275!

As for the the remark about landing on ones camera, I'm just poking fun at the lack of details on Lehmann's web page. lot's of claims while conveniently omitting any useful details, in my opinion. Smells like vaporware.  

Comment by Joshua Ott on November 24, 2012 at 2:54am

Ramboky, Of course my senses and experience as a pilot add an enormous level of safety to the mission! Is the wind changing, do I hear a helicopter approaching, do I see my UAV doing something that I did not intend it to? If some new information comes in, I can change modes and direct the craft accordingly.

You are misunderstanding the baby carriage comment entirely, as I stated above, that is an extreme worst case scenario, that would most likely never happen, but it is useful to consider worst case  events to keep ones decision making professional and adult-like. I think it's funny to talk in extremes, sorry if you don't get it.

Vaporware in the sense that a person with no pilot experience would spend $1275 plus a couple of hundred dollars worth of camera, and then watch it all disappear in flames when it auto-lands onto a street full of gasoline tankers and baby carriages. People who have not gone through the trials of building and flying UAVs won't realize how hard it is to throw a robot up in the air and get it to do exactly what you want. We are coming into another great tech boom, much like the Internet boom of the nineties, only it's hardware this time. Just like the last one, there will be many great promises made and realities known.

Comment by Gary Mortimer on November 24, 2012 at 4:34am

Er you are only allowed to fly UA in Europe if you are able to intervene and take control. 

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on November 24, 2012 at 6:13am

Ramboky, my comments aren't directed at Chris, but at everybody.  I'm not trying to shame people, but sometimes I get the feeling there's a distinct lack of consideration for the work that goes into this stuff.  The code isn't made my elves in Santa's workshop.  There are real people devoting their lives to this, and everybody else benefits.

I'm not trying to shame anybody into anything, or declare a new international APM Developers Appreciation Holiday.  I'm just pointing out that when people look at these other systems and declare them expensive, I think it's completely missing out on a really important point.  

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on November 24, 2012 at 6:15am

And I have to admit, I LOLed a little at the baby carriages and gasoline trucks comment.  Lighten up a little. ;)

Comment by Joshua Ott on November 24, 2012 at 11:10am
R Lefebvre, Did you check out Lehmann's web site? It seems a bit short on details to me, the video shows just a few seconds of a launch and nothing else of the plane actually in operation. I'm curious about the mission planning interface, as this is very critical to an auto only platform. There are so many variables to consider with a 3d mission. The press release makes sound like a foolproof solution to aerial imaging, someday that will exist I have no doubt. If they can deliver that capability for $1300, then they deserve to sell a bunch of product.


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