I wanted to share a video of my new Hubsan H107C HD micro HD camera quadcopter flying in some fairly heavy winds. I specifically shot this piece of video because it showed the flag waving, and gave some video evidence of flying conditions. It handles surprisingly well given the conditions, and I would be willing to put it up against non-gimble shot video from bigger systems in similar conditions.

Hubsan, the company who made the quad I fly in the video, has now come out with a micro FPV RTF quad for around $200, and I spoke with one of their representatives recently who offhandedly mentioned micro GPS units. He changed subject when I tried to pursue that thought further. It will be interesting to see if a Hubsan x4 with GPS will be coming in the not so distant future.

I have spoken of these micro quads for awhile now, and most recently spoke of the above quad hereIn short, I think we will see more of these smaller aircraft coming along. Earlier this year, the British military started fielding micro-drones from Prox Dynamics, a company working on building smaller UAS for various applications. Larger aircraft will always have their place and purpose, but I will make my prediction now; micro UAS will become big business. I also think smaller, "friendlier," drones will become very commonplace and perhaps, even in most homes. Imagine being able to do a basic roof inspection after a storm without having to climb a ladder, or (in more northern climates) more directly observe the amount of snow accumulated on a roof to determine if a collapse is imminent following a blizzard. 

If the DJI Phantom is to UAS what the home PC is to computers, micro-drones will be the smartphones.

ADDED THOUGHT:  There are projects to interface a PC or smartphone with this quad as seen here. I have a question for the community at large, what is the smallest, lightest GPS board with telemetry which could send a signal back to be used by a PC? I might like to try building a feedback system to allow a computer to navigate this quad remotely. I love tinkering, and have wanted to do a project like this for awhile. Thanks!

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Comment by Gary McCray on October 22, 2013 at 7:43pm

I agree HeliStorm,

I also think microdrones will become big business for consumers for legal, safety and commercial reasons.

Aside from the obvious safety and therefore legal aspects, the fact is it is easier for a company to maker lots of small things cost effectively than bigger things.

Apply the technology of the current smartphones to miniature drones and robots and you could have a pretty decent formula for a high volume product.

Comment by Tyler McGahee on October 22, 2013 at 8:22pm

Very impressive performance from such an inexpensive piece. I'm really impressed. Gary makes a good point, but I think it applies a lot more to toys that to proper commercial uses, that are willing to pay a premium for reliability and ease of use, etc. Downtime in the system for any reason has exponential costs associated in the service industry that don't apply to kids or hobbyists

Comment by HeliStorm on October 22, 2013 at 8:42pm
Gary and Tyler, both of you have provided interesting thoughts. I think Gary was aiming his thoughts more towards a consumer side.

I agree Tyler that there are different levels of need. From toys to the micro systems used in Afghanistan by the British, there is a spectrum. But, with that said, a lot of businesses rely on consumer grade systems for their daily operations.

Blackberry built an empire by building a great business-centric mobile platform. They have been squandering that empire by assuming businesses would always spend top dollar for their premium service. Apple and Android have proven to be good enough, and hey, people are willingly buying them for personal use. Why issue a company Blackberry, when you can work with what your employee is using. A consumer product is now accepted in a corporate world.

Likewise, GoPro cameras are being used in TV production, and in films. In fact there was a feature length film recently released which was shot almost entirely on GoPro cameras. Again, consumer electronics being used on a professional level.
Comment by HeliStorm on October 22, 2013 at 8:54pm
Modified GoPro cameras, to be exact. But, a modified consumer system.

I think the FAA should be seriously considering a lower limit on size they will worry about enforcing. And if an exemption could be made at a certain level, the market for systems below that level would explode, both consumer and commercial.
Comment by HeliStorm on October 22, 2013 at 9:08pm
And, again, there will always be a market for the premium consumer. But, look at space travel even. There are several companies aiming for business in launching the lower end of the upper class and even the upper ends of the middle class. NASA argued long and hard that a private company couldn't do spaceflight cheap and safe. And now, a private company is doing their launches for them.
Comment by Crasher on October 23, 2013 at 2:26am

With the exception of the original H107v1 (which I found to be horrible to fly) all the later X4's are fantastic little machines. They fly as well as a much bigger machine. They are so cheap they are practically disposable. I have just got my hands on the new H107D FPV version. It even has battery voltage telemetry! A fully loaded X4 with GPS, RTL, Waypoint, etc would be awesome!

Comment by HeliStorm on October 23, 2013 at 8:10am
Crasher and With...Hubsan appears to have made a concerted effort to build better and more featured products while managing to keep prices low. If a GPS enabled x4 was built, I think it would show they are attempting to become major player in the market, rather than just another low cost toy company. This rapid development is what led me to contact them to find out more information in the first place.

I am trying to get my hands on an h107d to test. Who is a reliable source? BG, whom I normally deal with, does not have them in stock yet.
Comment by CrashingDutchman on October 23, 2013 at 8:13am

Edit: Is it this quadcopter you have been using in the video: http://dx.com/p/hubsan-x4-h107c-2-4g-4ch-r-c-quadcopter-with-camera... (RTF - US$ 60.90 incl shipping).

DealExtreme has a whole range of spare parts for the H107C: http://dx.com/s/h107c%2bquadcopter

Comment by CrashingDutchman on October 23, 2013 at 8:22am

HeliStorm: Not sure if reliable, but these say that they have them in stock around October, 30: http://www.directsource4u.co.uk/multi-rotor-copters/hubsan-fpv-x4

fwiw

Comment by HeliStorm on October 23, 2013 at 8:41am
Crashing Dutchman, I can't tell. Unfortunately, there is a C standard def model, and a C high def model. And there is little to delineate one from the other if a seller
doesn't specifically say one or the other. Given the price, my guess would be no. The SD C models seem to go for prices ranging from $55 to $70. The HD version goes from $75 to $95 generally. I can post the link for BangGood's store with the HD, but they are currently out of stock it looks like.

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