An Autopilot in the clouds - new vehicle UTV-4

I'd thought I'd share some concept images of the new test vehicle that is currently under way.


It's designated UTV-4 (Universal Test Vehicle number 4) and will be fitted with all the hardware required by the AutoPilot system described in my earlier blogs:

Part 1 that introduced to overall concept of a decentralised autopilot, where the autopilot can reside on a remote server and/or guide several drones in a coordinated effort.

Part 2 about the overall software architecture and hardware interface.

Part 3 A detailed look into some of the software features.

Part 4 Flight testing the small vehicle UTV-3 to prove the basic concept in real life and explaining the wonders of PID.

Part 5 A description of the complete electronics that goes into the final vehicle including gas sensing hardware.

Part 6 An overall description of the system fitted in the UTV-1

Building new vehicles is fun and while we flight test the UTV1, I've started to outline the hardware for the next drone. A lot of knowledge has already been gained developing the UTV1, and hardware has also developed over the last two years. The drone will therefore feature better and faster hardware and will be even more universal than the UTV1.


The specs will look something like this:

* On board computer - Banana PI (Dual Core) or Raspberry PI 2 (Quad Core)

* Two cameras (one high def and one NIR)

* Serial link radio



* Dual antenna RC receiver

* Instrument/Sensor bay

* Onboard display

* Flight time 1.5-2 hours

The front dome will house two cameras, and possibly some more sensors, and a display that will show information about the vehicle prior to launch (State Machine state, diagnostics, mission content etc..). As I recently have gained access to a 3D printer, some decs, mounts etc,. will be 3D printed as well as some hardware mocs. This will ease the actual layout before getting the real hardware. A lot of effort is placed on accessibility and ease of use.

A third camera is placed inside the body and will help to determine the stability and amount of vibration during different maneuvers.

The drone will feature either a wifi link or a physical lan port for upgrading software and downloading data (should you not choose to send them during flight)


The plane will be equipped with a serial link radio transceiver which will allow the craft to act either as a master or slave drone in a larger setup while also connecting to the ground using a GPRS modem.


The drone will also have an plug and play instrument bay (Nice rhyme!), where different sensors can be plugged in and feed data to the onboard computer for further processing or transmission.

A big thanks to this great community and all the inspiring people that put effort and time in reading/writing/commenting and posting wonderful and inspirational products and ideas.

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  • These are very valid points and I'm sorry I forgot to point out that the wings and fins are only shaped and placed like this for the graphical expression of these concept drawings.

  • have you taken a look at aircraft stability? a wing like that with no sweep and no tail will be verrrrry sensitive to CG location and control deflection. 

  • Moderator


    You absolutely right

  • I would suggest you place a fin at the end of the fuselage. In the current configuration the fins are very ineffective.

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