This one looks pretty sweet. Stating at $600 on Kickstarter:

A Quadcopter Plus a Flying Wing

Drones seem to be everywhere. The problem is that the vast majority of them are multi-rotors and they excel at one thing: hovering.  

Hovering solves one side of the problem, but when shooting a fast subject you need speed. Without compromising precision hovering capabilities we created something fast. We created something that broke the 100 km/h barrier. Enter the X PlusOne. 

At its core the X PlusOne is a revolutionary hybrid.  It combines multi-rotor capabilities with high speed flight from its fixed wing.  The X PlusOne feels right at home hovering with the multi-rotors or skimming the treetops at blistering speeds!

Hover

The X PlusOne is a Pro when it comes to precision stabilized hover.  We designed the control algorithms so the craft remains rock solid, even in windy conditions. 

Speed

Speed isn't normally associated with most of the drones out there.  We changed that!  Ever heard of a multi-rotor taking great aerial shots at 100 km/h?  Well, now you have!

A Drone Redefined

The X PlusOne doesn't just fly around looking great (although it does), it's an aerial camera drone too!  We offer the X PlusOne with an array of filming apparatus.  From a simple mini DV camera to the ever-popular GoPro.  Our optional stabilizing gimbal platform renders silky smooth video. The point is, we have demonstrated the engineering on this craft and it works very well.

Easy to Fly

From its inception the X PlusOne was designed with the average operator in mind.  If you can fly a multi-rotor or an RC airplane, you can fly the X PlusOne.  The craft self-stabilizes in both hover and forward flight modes.  Transitioning between the two is a matter of simply flipping one switch.  Our onboard computer and sensors manage the details.   

Imagine what you could do with the X PlusOne!

Key Features

  • A speed demon: Need to follow a fast subject or want some super-cool flybys?  The patent pending design of the X PlusOne has you covered with ultra-fast cruise mode with speeds over 60 mph (100 kph).
  • The hover ship: A stable quadcopter when you need it for tight takeoffs and landings or when shooting stills.
  • Easy to fly: Stabilized in both hover and cruise modes.  Auto recovery switch ensures that if you get in trouble, one flip of a switch will put the craft into auto-level hover.
  • Expandable for the pro: If you're already an expert, disable stabilization for amazing aerobatics, unlike anything you've ever experienced with an RC aircraft.
  • Ultimate GoPro accessory:  With multiple options for mounting GoPro action cameras, your inner aerial cinematographer will never be in want with the X PlusOne.
  • Stable camera platform: Optimized control algorithms and an optional 2-axis brushless camera gimbal mean you get rock solid, silky smooth aerial video and stills.
  • Ready to fly - and film: Ready To Fly and Film packages get you everything you need to keep up with the action.  All Ready To Fly packages include the assembled X PlusOne, motors and electronics, 2.4 GHz transmitter, battery, and charger.  The Ready To Film packages also throw in a micro DV or GoPro Hero camera!
  • Safe: The X PlusOne is rich in safety features including Safe-Arm and Auto-Recovery.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 32.5 x 19 x 14 inches
  • Flying weight: 2.8 lbs 
  • Patent-pending hybrid quadcopter flying wing design
  • Speed range: hover - 60 mph (100 kph)
  • Flight time: 10-15 minutes
  • Breaks down for easy transportation
  • Optional 2-axis brushless gimbal for GoPro
  • Optional fixed GoPro mount
  • Optional fixed micro DV camera 
  • Optional GoPro Hero HD action camera

Our Team

JD Claridge is the visionary and inventor of the x PlusOne design.  He started his career at Volant Technica as an aerospace engineer and later served several years as the lead electrical engineer at Quest Aircraft.  For the past few years JD has been running his own aerospace design firm.

Charles Manning is the CEO of a leading mobile analytics technology company, Kochava.  An aviation enthusiast, Charles was immediately excited about working with JD to help make the X PlusOne a reality.

Why We need Your Help

We have a proven design and we want to do a large-scale production run - working with Kickstarter to gauge how many units will be produced.  

We feel confident that we will hit our minimum - we simply wonder how many we will punch out in this first production run.  We are excited to hit our stretch goals with your help!

Timeline

  Key Milestones (already done)

  • Inception of X PlusOne - December 2013 - DONE
  • Conceptualize overall design - February 2014 -DONE
  • Begin detailed design - July 2014 - DONE
  • Develop 5 prototype iterations and test - August 2014 -DONE
  • First flight of conforming prototype - September 2014 - DONE
  • Fine tune controller software - October 2014 - DONE
  • File patent application - November 2014 - DONE
  • Finalize costs, develop supply chain and manufacturing capability- November 2014 -DONE
  • KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED - DECEMBER 2014 -DONE!


   Key Milestones (after successful funding)

  • Ship laser-cut display models - January 2015
  • Release final drawings and software - January 2015
  • Order molded and custom components - January 2015
  • Order for off-the-shelf parts - February 2015
  • Secure backup supply chain - March 2015
  • Molded and custom parts manufactured - May 2015
  • Final assembly and testing at the XplusOne factory - June 2015
  • SHIP THE X PlusOne TO ALL OUR GREAT BACKERS! - JULY 2015

Rewards

Risks and challenges

There are a few challenges and risks that are related to the X PlusOne. Fortunately, neither successful design and implementation are on the list. We have spent the last year designing the X PlusOne and prototyping it through various iterations to ensure that our team was confident about what we were going to do with this Kickstarter project.

The X PlusOne is not a concept that we still have to implement. This is proven.

There are some risks about scheduling, but fortunately, we have set timing expectations for mid-summer 2015 to mitigate any risk around scheduling. We feel a little bit like our schedule is too padded - but we're more comfortable doing this than to miss a delivery date.

From a problem solving perspective, our team is made up of Aerospace engineers, electrical engineers and software engineers. We know what happens with there are problems and we work every day to address them. We're confident that we will ship!



Views: 8856

Comment by Steve on December 17, 2014 at 3:21am

"I can't believe no one had made one of these before". Hmmm, no. 

Comment by R. D. Starwalt on December 17, 2014 at 5:20am

This finally triggered me to sign up to Kickstarter... haven't back it, yet. Thanks for the post Chris!

With all the recent discussion about VTOL and the challenges of the phase transition, it would be nice to have a bit more technical information on how they handle 'the math'. It is a 'rad' look but, nothing paradigm shifting on the surface.

Of course the cloak and dagger IP stuff needs some discretion but, a white paper on the basics wouldn't hurt.

Nice project and for $25 you a get cool laser cut desktop model shipped free.

-=Doug


100KM
Comment by Reto Buettner on December 17, 2014 at 5:24am

Looks nice. But is definitely not new:

2010 Transition Robotics won the Cool Idea! award and was featured in Make Magazine with the QuadShot:
http://transition-robotics.com/pages/projects
2011 the QuadShot was a successful Kickstarter Project.

2012 ATMOS successfully participated at DARPAs UAVForge:
http://www.teamatmos.nl/

2014 VertiKUL followed:
http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/design-of-a-multi-rotor-vtol-ua...

And Googles Project Wing:
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-28964260

I am sure there have been more ...

Comment by Superwalloon on December 17, 2014 at 5:37am

Well, my Sky Hero Little Spyder with APM 2.6 goes 95km/h and doesn't prevent me from doing great aerial shots and videos.

Comment by Giovanni Esposito on December 17, 2014 at 5:47am

From their specifications there is no real gain in speed neither in endurance vs a traditional multirotor.  So there is no point in it.

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on December 17, 2014 at 6:25am

It does look fantastic, I'll give them that.

But yeah, this is definitely not the first time this has been done.  It also doesn't outperform everything else out there.  Leonard has done 108 km/h with a quadcopter.  And I've done 150 km/h with a small helicopter.  

I think what this does do is that there's really no free lunch in this industry.  You can't have speed, VTOL, payload and/or flight time all together.  You only get to pick 2 out of 3.  There's no magic here.  That thing is fast and VTOL, but can't fly long.  The problem is that it's neither an efficient airplane, nor an efficient copter.  (and the same is true of the rest of these). 

I'm also really nervous about airplanes that don't have control surfaces, but just rely on thrust vectoring.  The only roll control that thing has is from motor torque?

Comment by Jean-Marie PRIGENT on December 17, 2014 at 7:52am

Looks fine. Definitly innovative.

But I prefer more oriented 'plane' than 'quadcopter' like airbus project : 

http://www.suasnews.com/2014/12/33213/the-airbus-groups-quadcruiser...

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on December 17, 2014 at 10:04am

Yeah, there's definitely some merits to separate lift and thrust motors.  One problem with tail-sitters, is that to be efficiency in hover, they need large, low-pitch props.  But the low-pitch props result in low maximum pitch-speed in forward flight.  So you have two conflicting requirements for the propeller design.

The Airbus quad avoids this problem.

Comment by Jean-Marie PRIGENT on December 17, 2014 at 1:37pm

Inverted flight, like on copter, could a funny addition like this quad for example, a JR NINJA 400 MR : http://youtu.be/_UMfaf1UNTo


Moderator
Comment by Bill Piedra on December 17, 2014 at 1:46pm

This looks like a really interesting project, kind of reminiscent of what google is working on for their delivery drone.   Looked good enough in kit form to experiment with, so I back the project on Kickstarter.   

I've been experimenting with a VTOL based around the XUAV Talon Airframe for about a year now and my conclusion so far is that while it can hover, and fly forward, it doesn't do either one exceptionally well.   I won't stop tinkering until I have it right.  

Here's a picture of the latest incarnation as an X8 which uses both an APM and Pixhawk flight controllers.  APM for forward flight, Pixhawk for the X8. 

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