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: 9133

Comment by James masterman on November 23, 2012 at 12:55am

So no telemetry, no video transmitter and not even the go pro included in the $1275? Is Lehmann aviation really Lehmann brothers bank??


Gotta love this one too - from the tech specs: Endurance: 5 minutes

Comment by Mark Harrison on November 23, 2012 at 1:08am

There's a computer joke that might be applicable:

Q: What's the difference between a revision control system and asset management system? 

A: list price, about $3,000/seat 

Comment by RC Tech.se on November 23, 2012 at 1:15am

Ahh, those snazzy "Tactical Gloves" needed to launch the plane must be about USD 800 then 8-)

Comment by Mark Colwell on November 23, 2012 at 2:39am

Notice surface texture, Many spots with new tire "hair", May act like shark shin to reduce drag ;-)

Comment by Philippe Petit on November 23, 2012 at 2:58am

How is it even possible that they only get 5 minutes endurance? Does this thing run on a citron battery?

Comment by Tom on November 23, 2012 at 3:44am

That doesn't look that unreasonable to me. Firstly, it's not a simple RTL autopilot, it will follow a series of waypoints, but these can't be changed in flight. Secondly, it's a commercial offering, with all the potentially expensive support and warranties that implies. I think there's a tendency to simply compare functionality and materials of commercial UAVs with DIY/open source equivalents and assume they should cost the same. I'm guessing Lehmann Aviation also want to make a profit too...

Comment by Leigh Green on November 23, 2012 at 4:19am

Well the whole unit is in fact black EPO if you look at it, and the "new tire hair" is just part of the EPO moulding process - look at any EPO trainer you get from Hobbyking - like the AXN, etc.  they have them all over. the wings.

Carbon fibre - Black EPO to look like carbon fibre maybe, perhaps some re-inforcement somewhere, or the wings are actually moulded seperately and there are CF rods holding the two halves together.

I can elaborate on the 5 minutes - that is run time of the probably 200mah 2s battery onboard, but your go-pro would be self powered and should last for another 25 minutes...just enough time to point the recently landed craft right at you to capture the absolute forelornness on your face that you were so gullable to pay that much.

I could probably fly to Hobby King in Honkers personally and pick up a fully kitted out version of something almost identical for the same overall price!

Oh and not to feel like I need to prove a point - but my image below = grand total of about $5 of insulation foam and 2hours of work - with a 1500kv 35 series motor, 9x6 jpc prop, 2200mah bat, Turnigy 9x, GoPro and APM 2 it does 20 minutes+ at 120kph up to virtually unlimited height - Mission Planned and manual overidable, etc. all the way...How much did it cost all up...APM was most expensive, and it all totalled around $500AUD - but most parts are interchangable with my other UAVs anyway - and this LA1000 has nothing like an APM in it.

So Chris - you asked what you are missing...? I think it might be that someone decided to change April Fools day to December some time...

Comment by Tom on November 23, 2012 at 4:35am

Guys, it's designed so that no piloting skills (and no building skills) are needed to use it. I'm not even sure what you're comparing it to, because I've not seen any DIY system that could achieve that with the reliability you'd need to offer it commercially...

Comment by Leigh Green on November 23, 2012 at 4:57am

I don't think it's so much a comment on it's commercial viability - and I suppose not real comparisons in the DIY sense...perhaps even a bit of "Damn they thought of it before we did..."

From a Commercial standpoint - yes it will be targeted at those without piloting experience, and I see great commercial outlets for it - Agriculture, Real Estate, even Photography in general.

It really is horses for courses though - and correct no direct comparisons should be made, the reality is someone has found a possible market for a product perhaps with product testing and development behind it, and we wish them all the luck in the world.

I myself can readily put my hand up and say that in the near future I intend to continue to develop my own UAV's as per the one in the background of my last image which will have the potential to reach an entirely different market, just as Northtop Grumman deal with the USAF on Globalhawk.

Retail has two strategies - Both work just as well as each other - but success is different things to different people.

1.  "Find your target market, then build the product to suit."


2. "Build your product, then find a market to sell it to"

Which one of these do you think works best?  Both of them equally well - but strategy 1 is a majority rules "Everyone will want one" - this has high product turnover, low GP, high market share.  Whereas strategy 2 is Niche marketing  You build something no-one needs, then tell them it is extra special and only the elite will want them.  This is Low market share, High GP, low product turnover - just like selling a $1.5Mil Bugatti Veyron I could sell two of them in my lifetime and at the age of 37 retire for life.  But if I had to spend my days selling $20k hatches and sold one a week - it would take me 200 years to make the same profit.

Comment by Leigh Green on November 23, 2012 at 5:02am

Just one more thing - I don't think it is following specific waypoints - it looks in that video to be that it flys straight for 200m, makes a 60 degree turn, flys for 200m, makes another 60 degree turn then flys 200m back to point of origin.  It's just a simple triangulation pattern


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