GeoCrawler 4 (Picopilot off-the-shelf autopilot)


Description: This UAV, which uses an off-the-shelf autopilot, is the reference platform against which we benchmark the more innovative (and cheaper) custom UAVs that are our main focus at DIY Drones.

The video system listed below, which streams realtime video via a 2.4 GhZ wireless link, provides a real-time eye-in-the sky overhead view of the path, although a FlyCamOne2 is a cheaper and lighter video solution if you don't mind waiting till you land to download the video. Alternately, this is a reasonable platform for Geomapping (very high resolution aerial photography that you can use with Google Earth) with a commercial digital point-and-shoot camera shooting in continuous mode, accompanied by a GPS logger.

The Mini Telemaster is relatively small and has a pretty high wing-loading, so the onboard camera equipment it can carry is limited, both in size and weight (it's ideally suited for the tiny FlyCamOne). The advantage is that you can hand launch it almost anywhere, so no runway is required. But a more serious imaging system requires the shift to a larger plane, such as the full-size Electro Telemaster.

Features: Up to 32 pre-set GPS waypoints. Integrated inertial stabilization. Tried and true system, which offers reliability in exchange for limited flexibility.

Views: 1496

Comment by Frank Cates on July 16, 2007 at 7:25pm

This is where I was trying to post the link, this is a video downlink for $80. If this one is adequate it would bring down the cost of the complete system.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on July 16, 2007 at 8:33pm

The problem with most cheap wireless video setups is that their range is *terrible*. Like a couple hundred feet. The more expensive video setups use 500 mW transmitters and channel hopping to improve that to a half-mile or so.
Comment by Frank Cates on July 17, 2007 at 3:10pm
I don't quite follow the numbers, how does a 2.4 ghz system compare to a 500 mw system for power and range? My own initial needs will probably not require much over 500 feet for range but I would prefer it to be capable of greater range than that just to be safe. Also, greater range does mean greater usefullness I suppose.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on July 17, 2007 at 3:28pm
2.4 GhZ is just the frequency these systems operate on. 500 mW (or, in the case of the system you linked to, probably more like 100 mW) refers to the power of the signal. More power = longer range. In general, the cheaper systems have problems with moving transmitters, which is hard to avoid in a plane! If you can afford to experiment, try the cheaper system and see whether it suits your needs. But if it doesn't, I think the only good solution is to go to higher-power, higher-quality setups.
Comment by Frank Cates on July 17, 2007 at 6:29pm
I sent an email asking for additional info on the system, the ad did not give power ratings. We will see what they come back with, if I get anything interesting I'll post it here.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on May 9, 2008 at 10:08pm

You only need the camera if you want to take aerial photos (geomapping). The RC system is to take off and land (the planes only fly autonomously once they're already in the air)


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