Greetings friends! It’s been a few months since we introduced “Backcountry Drones” and the concept of the coaxial “Scout” backpack drone to you here on DIYdrones, and although it may have seemed we’d gone quiet…we’ve been busy. Very busy.

We’ve gotten some amazing input from many of you, feedback that we’ve taken to heart as we’ve worked to design a production-worthy vehicle. Next month we’re going to reveal the fruits of our efforts in a Kickstarter campaign. But before we do, we wanted to get some more input. 

We’ve watched with interest as other sUAV designs have met (or even smashed) their funding goals, only to have a slew of unpleasant issues emerge afterwards. We’d like to avoid as many of those as possible. Between the three of us, we’ve got more than 40 years of RC experience, and while we’re really confident in our design and we think you’re going to love it, we want to run some thing by you before we go “really” public.  Features of the new model include:

  • Stacked two-blade rotor system
  • 10cm diameter, 35cm length, about 2.5 lbs
  • Pixhawk control
  • Mobius HD standard, with interchangeable GoPro module
  • Optional FPV

A video highlighting two years of early proof-of-concepts is attached.  The production prototype is flying, and we'll be posting photos and video in the coming weeks leading up to the launch of the Kickstarter campaign.

We’ve read all of the comments for the X-plusOne, AirDog and the Zano. Those are some interesting designs with some really great features, and they've had some terrific backers and candid comments. We’re going to do our very best to under-promise and over-deliver when it comes to performance and delivery date. Our control board is well-proven (you’ll agree), and we’re only using aerial footage shot from our vehicle. Without post-processing to remove jello.

But what else? We’d love to get a discussion going here to try to cover as many things as we can before we finalize the details of our campaign. We've posted a video here with footage from our early development.  The new model is bigger, more versatile, and more're going to love it.  Thanks for your continued interest and input, and please be sure to visit our new website at!

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  • Add a wing for a transition to forward flight and I'll order a dozen now. ;-)

  • You know what we think :) Would have been great to be involved some how, all the best! (get in touch again if the kickstarter doesn't work out, but I hope it does!)

  • @ Ascent AeroSystems,

    Do you have images/videos of the modular designs/payloads? You peaked my interest.

  • How about keeping the price point reasonable for the average user. Not the 500+ dollar range like so many others are asking for. There is a lot of competition out there now. I'll bet we Will start to see some companies die off. To many choices for mid to high range units.
  • Thanks very much for the feedback!

    • Juraj – We couldn’t agree more!  We’re going to make it really easy to add new payload modules so you can attach the best cameras and sensors available today…and in the future.  Because the GoPro is such a popular camera, we’re going to make that available right away.  Others will follow.
    • A few people have asked about a DIY version, with no flight control module or camera.  We actually have a number of different vehicles in development, and we’re thinking about which one would be best for a DIY kit.  Please stay tuned!
    • John – We’re going to try to get some footage in adverse conditions for the video to give people a good sense of what we have experienced.  “Wind” and “flight times” are clear enough, but what other weather conditions are you particularly concerned about?
    • Alvin – The vehicle is designed to be the most portable, most durable small unmanned aerial vehicle available, and it’s great for any recreational, professional or commercial purpose.  Traditional multicopters are relatively fragile, bulky and difficult to transport.  Our design can take a beating, and it can easily be tossed into a backpack without disassembly.  The final specifications will be released with the Kickstarter campaign, but we expect that it will have all of the navigation capabilities available in the Pixhawk’s latest release, including waypoint navigation and “follow me”.  It will also have a “free flight” mode so that it can be flown with a traditional remote control transmitter.
    • Doug – thanks for your comments.  All of our designs will be modular so that they can easily accommodate different payloads.  The panoramic camera you describe is one of many potential devices that could be carried.
    • Andy and Gary – We totally agree that ease of use is a key design objective.  If you think that the best features of the Phantom and the Iris are good, then you’ll be very happy with our design.  As I mentioned, we have a number of vehicles in development, some larger and some smaller, and each with a different set of features.  (The mass-market consumer wants smaller, but commercial users want bigger...)  Obstacle detection, object tracking and an integrated camera will all be part of our designs, but they may not be in the introductory version.  We will also have a comprehensive set of accessories, including a shroud

    Thanks again for the comments, and please keep them coming! 

    Peter, Nate and Jonathan

  • good luck!!

  • This is a great design, with lots of possibilities.

    A few thoughts:

    The smaller you can make it the larger your market.

    Your current basic design already lends it self to being as compact as possible, so if you could just shrink the whole thing it would help,

    Right now, arguably the 250 class quadcopters that are currently gaining popularity look like they could pack into a smaller more convenient space.

    Your original design was for the whole thing to be about the same size as a bicycle / hiker water bottle I think you should try very hard to get back to that and more in the 1 lb class than the 2 lb class.

    I know that is hard, but I think it would be very worth while.

    I don't know what your current camera set up is, but I would think chip style HD camera with your own SD recorder and connect to flight battery to keep weight and size as small as possible.

    Just my thoughts, for your product I am sure smaller is better.

    Best regards,


  • This is a smart design. Nevertheless i think you should do everything possible to get it to fly as stable as possible. 

  • Some feedback based on conversations I've had with a few folks that could be in your target market this last year and could be instructive.

    1) Ease of use is key to a wider market. Any drone that goes to market this year and *does not* have hands free hover built in has squandered an opportunity for a much much wider market. The bebop is the gold standard of usability for the larger market as far as I'm concerned because I can just hand my phone or tablet to anyone and they can fly it. Please consider doing the extra work to get downward facing Sonar/Lidar working and take a swing at optical flow. I know someone traveling through India right now with the Pocket Drone and he thinks the small size is great but *hates* lugging around the RC controller. True hands free hover makes the RC controller optional and that is, in my view, the future.

    2) Make it as small as possible. Right now it's very compact but 35cm which for US folks still stuck on the "standard" system is over a foot long. I have another group of friends skiing in Japan right now (I'm pretty Jealous) and they are very into back country skiing and asked me to recommend a compact drone. There are some  options but none that are great and also very very compact. I understand many people want to loft a GoPro but If you could make the entire system half the size, with a built in fish-eye and downward facing sonar etc so it could be controlled with a phone I think you would have something incredibly compelling for your target market. If you can't make it any smaller for v1 or really want it work work with GoPro, which is understandable, I think having the RC controller optional per my first point make it way more transportable and compelling.

    3) Optional shroud for safety. If you could at least be forward thinking about a system for attaching optional shrouds I think you open up a whole new set of use cases potential indoor (perhaps in a public safety setting) or tight quarters. You don't want your drone falling out of the sky just because it bumps into a tree trying to get an awesome shot.

    Good luck a please reach out via email (in profile) I'd love to chat with you more.


  • Any idea what the flight time will be like?

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