Commercial Quadrotor Recommendations?

I am setting up a lab this summer for some student research that will be similar in most ways to this one at MIT: http://vertol.mit.edu/

I would like to buy 6-8 commercially available trirotor or quadrotor helicopters in the $1000 - $1500 price range that would be similar in capabilities to the old Draganflyer V Ti. I've looked around and I would be very happy using Parrot AR Drones, but they have not set a date for releasing them or published a price. Likewise, Draganfly's web site says they will release their E4 in 2010, but no price or date of availability either. I could swear their web site used to say the E4 was coming in 2009.

I will only have the students for 10 weeks, so I would rather have them doing higher-level research using copters that work out-of-the-box and have available spare parts than have them spend a big part of their summer testing and debugging copters that they have built from scratch. Any suggestions?

Garry

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3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on March 21, 2010 at 12:42pm
You can get the Parrot AR.Drone devkits now. They charge $1,200 each, but if you're buying more than one I'l bet they'll give you a discount. I've got two of them and they're awesome.
Comment by Garry Qualls on March 21, 2010 at 1:06pm
Cool, I was going to contact their U.S. sales rep tomorrow. I heard that the demand for dev kits had been pretty overwhelming.
Comment by Mariano Gros on March 21, 2010 at 1:39pm
Comment by Morli_ on March 21, 2010 at 3:57pm
Mariano,
can any of the AP here integrated with X600? what else (other than what is mentioned in web site ) needed?
I can see there are two(clockwise and anticlockwise) types of props available, if I want to order spare prop , do I need one pair of each? thanks
Has any used this or vouch for X600 ? any photos of your x600 ? thanks
Comment by Mariano Gros on March 21, 2010 at 4:04pm
I don't have a X600 I ask your opinion of that quad.
I bought several pieces for my Heli (3dx400) in cnchelicopter and they have lots of spares. Ask they directly about props.
Comment by Johno on March 21, 2010 at 4:04pm
Hi Garry,

We provide fully built Tri-Copters that will pretty much fly "out of the box" You can see info on it here..

http://www.mongrelgear.com.au/the-mongrels-shop?page=shop.product_d...

Let me know if this is of interest to you?

Cheers
John (aka The Mongrel)
Comment by Dimitar Kolev on March 22, 2010 at 2:04am
John, I look your website - videos looking good. Can you give some data more like dimensions, own weight, load possibility and time in air with some load (if tested)? I guess I can extract those from props and motors power, but it is not straightforward for beginner like me. Thanks in advance

Garry, if you have a little bit more money to spend and want to use AUVSI winner from previous year check (complete systems)
http://www.asctec.de/main/index.php?id=2&pid=&lang=de&c...
Comment by Johno on March 22, 2010 at 3:25am
Hi, Sure.

The Tri-Copter has booms that are 420mm long, with the motors spaced equally on each boom.

All up the bird will way about 1200 grams, ready to fly. (inc battery) and will fly for about 10 minutes or so.

It hovers on 15A - so depending what battery you use, you can get more air time... but the heavier you make it, the harder the motors will work, and the harder it will be to fly.

Cheers
John
Comment by Garry Qualls on March 22, 2010 at 10:57pm
Thanks for the good suggestions! The Mongrel looks really smooth and the X600 has a lot of power. I'll keep investigating. It would be nice to buy one of each and have a fly-off...
Comment by Johno on March 23, 2010 at 2:01am
No Problem. Our Trilogy will have more power than you need. And does not require any onboard processors. It is all Gyro based. no CPU boards at all! :) It is probably the most stable platform I have used for aerial photography!

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