For his Hackaday Prize project, [tlankford01] is using RC planes and UAVs as an anti-poaching system for rhinos and elephants. It’s a laudable goal for sure, but the conditions of this use case make for some very interesting engineering challenges.
The design goals [tlandford] has set are relatively simple for a bush plane, but building a plane that can fly 200km with a 6kg payload and return to base is a challenge that isn’t usually taken up by RC enthusiasts. For this project, [tlandford] is using an entirely 3D printed airframe, with living hinges printed right into the control surfaces. That in itself is pushing the limits of amateur airframes, but [tlandford] isn’t stopping there.
This UAV system will be completely automated, with a single ground control system taking care of controlling a swarm of planes, pointing a tracking antenna, and connecting to the Internet for observation or control from anywhere in the world.
The project that has seen a lot of improvement since it was entered in last year’s Hackaday Prize. The addition of a completely 3D printed airframe is a big one, and replacing the RVJet with something that looks a bit more like a glider should increase the loiter times over the target. There’s a video of the Icarus flying available below. If you also have a UAV project entered in The Hackaday Prize, there is now one obvious choice of what music you should use.
Here's the original post:
Project Icarus is a solar UAV that is challenging endurance records for airframes under 5kg. The airframe is a proven long range plane that is capable of multiple mission payload and power setups. Icarus 3.0 in its full form is a solar uav and is capable of other hybrid power systems such as hydrogen. For the 2015 Hackaday Prize, we will complete the third version of the project and will place the plane in service in wildlife refuges around the world.
There is a lot of catching up to get this listed so others can replicate what we are doing. We will be trying to add to and update this daily. Thank you for looking out for the project and if you would like to help in any way please feel free to give me a shout.
A. Long Range >200 km
B. Long Endurance >180 minutes
C. Payload >6 kg
D. Custom Image Recognition Software
E. Fire and Forget autonomous mission from launch to recovery
F. TCP/IP Cloud Control for observation or control from anywhere in the world
G. Simultaneous Mission Capable
F. Fully 3D printed airframe
Ground Control Station
A. Single or Multiple Users
B. Cloud Capable
C. Permanent Station and Man Portable Solutions
D. Automatic Antenna Tracking
E. Satellite Communications
F. RTK GPS Centimeter Accurate Solution
G. Onboard HIL Simulation Training Support
H. Swarm Control
- 2×Odroid U3Unbuntu Linux based embedded processor
- 1×Range Video RVJET Flying WingAir Frame
- 2×Piksi RTK GPScentimeter accurate RTK GPS
- 1×Cyclops C UAVAir Frame
- 2×Pixhawk APAutopilot
- 2×DroneDeploy Cloud CommunicationsMobile Network communications
- 2×Iridium 9252Satellite Modem Communications
- 2×Machine Vision USB CameraMultispectral MacIhine Vision for ID Software
- 2×Thermal Imaging CameraMachine Vision for Night Ops
- 2×RFIDto be determined