From the good BotJunkie blog: "The operation of the Point and Toss is literally that simple: you point it in the direction you want it to go, click a hand controller to lock the heading and start the engine, and then toss. The UAV automatically stabilizes itself, flies out for about half a mile at 250 feet taking pictures and video to an SD card, and then autonomously turns around and lands at your feet."

It's intended for military use, which means that when the manufacturer, IATech, describes it as "cheap", it probably means thousands of dollars. But I can think of lots of civilian uses, too. All of our UAVs can do this already, and I don't even think a RTL UAV like this would be export controlled, so we could easily produce one--simple, single-purpose and ready to fly out of the box. What say we make an open source one for $250? (And then some toy company can make it for $99!)

Views: 420

Comment by Michael Zaffuto on September 30, 2009 at 4:30am
Just in time for the holidays! LOL, Great idea!
Add a mode switch for standard out of the box boomerang mode,
or select full ArduPilot mode for advanced users!

The box could have a yellow sunburst in the right bottom corner
stating "DIYDrones Compatible"!

Moderator
Comment by Gary Mortimer on September 30, 2009 at 4:37am
No it would'nt be export controlled Chris, just think you could use an advanced autopilot to RTL via a route and that might describe a photo pattern for instance.

Of course the other way to avoid export nonsense is to make the autopilot outside of the USA ;-)

T3
Comment by Rory Paul on September 30, 2009 at 8:52pm
I do not get it you go to all that trouble integrate the airframe, autopilot etc etc and its dumb.. I want my UAV to be point and toss and then I want to be able to tell the thing to loiter over the target. The had AV on the local tv this morning with their Switchblade Now there is a useful product.
Comment by Mike Bakula on October 1, 2009 at 10:24am
The idea is that in order to get acceptance, SUAS class systems have to be able to work without a lot of operator training. Nobody wants a system that requires a user to be staring into a PC screen for an extended time. While I don't agree with the trades they made for this system (I got to talk to the marketing guy at the AUVSI demo), it does have the advantage of being very simple and easy on bandwidth.
Comment by Jerry Rodberg on October 1, 2009 at 1:26pm
Low cost is $25000 ( http://homelandsecuritynewswire.com/single.php?id=8499 ). Remember, DIY drones is filled with technical people. This is about perfect for military use actually. The less complex the better when you're literally under the gun. It might be expandable to do, say, a pre-programmed search spiral, or even a simple knob that lets them set how "far" out it flies. I'm guessing the white handle is either a manual safety (for the moment) or a return to base trigger. I am a little worried about how something like this would handle mountainous terrain.

More functionality may be possible in the future. Now, a live video feed back to the launcher would be VERY useful then. Maybe pipe it to a small display in the handle, add a DVR review function for the flight. Low res now, maybe high res on command or after return. Just enough to know when to pull back. A second level, for instance, could be a GPS referenced terrain map in the handle that you preprogram waypoints before launch via a simple touch screen interface.
Comment by bGatti on October 1, 2009 at 7:56pm
The lack of RF has a military advantage, one cannot be traced by RF triangulation.
I would definitely add some randomized return vectors, as I wouldn't want this the return vector to be a dead giveaway.
Comment by Mike Bakula on October 1, 2009 at 8:03pm
The handle is just to set direction (point-n-shoot to set the bearing) -- the flight profile is fixed, and there's no communication while in flight.

T3
Comment by Rory Paul on October 1, 2009 at 8:45pm
So you send this thing out it comes back with images and then you need to return to your fox hole and bury your head searching the images for your target? By the time you have gone through the image set the target has moved ten times already. Its okay if you are observing a fixed position or scouting a route but if you are in a contact situation you want to have the UAv loiter and orbit and feed you real time data. I like the design but you will find that it will be upgraded fast.
Comment by Mike Bakula on October 1, 2009 at 9:48pm
Did I mention that I didn't agree with the engineering tradeoffs in this system? ;-)

T3
Comment by Rory Paul on October 2, 2009 at 8:31am
Sorry was having one of those days where seeing my own postings validated my existence....I really need to get out to fly something ;)

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