3D Robotics

Airbus Cargo Drone using Dronecode/PX4 stack

zpzSWb5ZhiBDVqVE_QvvGiwIFZpx5EFLCaVD4SrCgWUc7fK83iZY9gIFpeoedimBsI38SkyivRGuZwhrYgjDWkHpFzsJ6l3ZE7r9t6Cl9xIgCbZ1aEkq67DPK4ScOpilHer2wwAATeam prepares quarter-scale drone for takeoff.

From the Local Motors blog, a report from the first bench testing of the 1/4 scale prototype of the Airbus Cargo Drone Challenge winner, which will debut at the Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas next month. That's me at right (with safety glasses)

Two months ago our co-creation community was drawing sketches on napkins to determine wing taper ratios and materials for what would ultimately become a finished cargo drone. The build has now progressed to the point that Local Motors and Airbus engineers have completed scale models and experimental test flights.

The nose cone, fuselage, tail boom and several other parts of the full-scale Zelator-28 are nearing completion.

Id5bWNOw4o6ontd2f4riwx-rC9E8FsTtQhWq9BiOQ6SVNlzrd8_LId1VRtlPc2VyTqLktlbTOgWnjbzl55l5_9ixSR3DFpEEq-pgb6ihd4OCX36KCA-bznT9sETpiMxdMqQmMiO5Pre-epoxy full-scale build.

The experimental quarter-scale model took flight this past weekend in Henderson, Nev. Local Motors engineers and Jon Daniels of Praxis Aerospace Concepts International (PACI) teamed with Chris Anderson of 3D Robotics (3DR) on the integration and demonstration of his flight control system for vertical take-off and transitional forward flight, known as PX4. Anderson’s flight system served as an interface for the motors, speed controllers and servomechanisms.


The test model completed a hover and touchdown, but a few mechanical issues prevented forward flight. The experiment was very beneficial to the build team, however, as it helped identify potential failure modes before stepping up to the full scale aircraft.

“They are simple fixes for the most part. There was a hardware conflict with the servos and an issue with the motor pods in the quarter-scale model,” said Local Motors engineer Alex Palmer.  “[The quarter-scale model] has a different attachment design than the full scale so that issue will resolve itself.”

The team is now focused on completing two full-scale models of the Zelator-28 that should be ready for flight testing in the next two weeks. Airbus engineers are planning to join the team for the first flights of the prototype. There are still active discussions on the project page for the co-creation community to provide ideas and feedback pertaining to wing design and the landing gear. Make your mark on the present and future of unmanned aerial vehicles by getting in on the discussion.

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • @Fnoop. Are you questioning the AFS? (Anderson Flight System)

  • Have they solved the CG problem? I see they are putting the battery at the front now, which is of course logical, not sure why the original "design" got that so wrong.

     I'm glad to see that they did remember to actually include the pusher motor that was forgotten from the original design.  Shame about how it will mess up the airflow at the tail compared to the original design though.

  • @John , just for your inspiration, this was attached to my RPIZero invoice from Adafruit:

    Résultats de recherche d'images pour « picasso making so complicated »

  • Developer

    It's kinda funny going to the project page and see them asking for help from the community on solutions for:

    - Landing gear

    - Wing Design and Construction

    Both issues that the community told them from the beginning would be problematic. But I guess that's what you get when the winner is selected based on who has the best looking 3D illustrations..

  • I'm anxious to see how PX4 does controlling the full-size lift rotors.

  • Developer

    ^ that.

  • "Anderson’s flight system"


  • Maybe build one of the submissions that was actually viable like the Minerva or Volans instead of this.
  • epp wing, fivefingers, oh this is no science... (joking)

    maybe use longer chord for better Re at low scale. nice tail design for shorten the fuse.

This reply was deleted.