The Plexidrone launched on Indiegogo at the beginning of October and successfully cruised past it's initial funding goal of $100k within the first week of it's campaign. Like all successfully crowdfunded drone campaigners, the DreamQii team have been quite creative marketing the virtues of their creation and proactive in generating press for their campaign.
The primary USP they are using to differentiate the Plexidrone from the competion is the 'swarm' feature. To quote the campaign video "You will definitely find no drones that you can control using a swarm technology. It's completely new, something you wont find anywhere else". ArduPilot does however offer something like that. It's other unique selling points include an integrated speaker aimed at replacing/augmenting the role of the status LEDs, as well as retracting legs, a clip based payload attachment system and navigation lights. The Plexidrone also features removable arms with some form of quick connection attachment for compact stowage and easy setup, and (perhaps the best USP of all) it also comes with a rather neat looking custom carry pack.
In terms of smarts, it appears that the flight controller they are using has much in common with ArduPilot, however, if it is (which it obviously is), they don't appear keen to make it known when quizzed on the matter. The Bluetooth telemetry bridge also appears to be very similar to the one developed by Jeff Taylor and launched on Kickstarter last year. It will be interesting to see how much their app, which will be available free on both iOS and Android, has in common with Arthur Benemann's DroidPlanner, or whether they get their iOS app out before Helico Aerospace Industries do.
The front facing ultrasonic sensor is an interesting addition. Based on the video and the delicate wording used to promote it, it appears that the proximity feature may simply offer an audible warning to the pilot or people in close proximity with the aircraft (of an immanent collision in the forward direction), however the website states that Plexidrone has Obstacle Avoidance effective up to 6.5m (3m on the tech specs), so it seems a little unclear what it will be able to do.
Interestingly, while initial press and some of the product images on the campaign page show what appear to be quality SunnySky motors, proper threaded mounts and snazzy props, the production unit appears to be wearing Turnigy 2830/11 1000kv motors, old-school collet style adapters and cheaper props.
In terms of performance, it is a little on the heavy side for it's size, weighing in at a sturdy 1.3kg with a modest 3S 5Ah battery, yet flight time is claimed to be up to 35-minutes (which seems about twice what one would expect from the selected configuration, even without a payload attached).
Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this project tracks and whether it gets big like Pocket Drone, Hexo+ and AirDog. Other discussions on the Plexidrone (including comments by one of it's creators) can be found here and here.
DreamQii and Klever have clearly forgotten all about this interview. Do not buy a PlexiDrone or anything from DreamQii! The product simply doesn't exist and it's doubtful if it ever will! No one has seen it. They haven't delivered the PlexiDrone to any customers and have not delivered the BublCam, or the Sony video cameras either. It's all just a dream idea right now (or a nightmare for some customers!). DreamQii launched a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo back in October 2014, promising to deliver the quadcoptor UAS drone "PlexiDrone" by March 2015. March 2015 came without delivery of PlexiDrone and without a reasonable explanation from DreamQii. Then the delivery date was pushed to April 2015, then September 2015, all dates passed without delivery of the PlexiDrone to any customers. DreamQii didn't respond to customer requests for product delivery or product development updates. Customers asked via: emails to DreamQii, on the Indiegogo comments page for DreamQii and via DreamQii's Facebook page, most went unanswered and ignored. DreamQii would often give vague updates, that didn't say anything of any substance and simply mislead customers. If you visit their Indiegogo campaign page, their Facebook page or other "PlexiDrone" customer pages you will quickly read about the frustration many customers are experiencing. If this is how DreamQii treats their customers who have supported and backed them before they have even produced a product, imagine how bad their customer service will be if DreamQii ever does deliver their product!!
The 35 minute flight is using the ground effect? Well, for a terrain-following drone, that could be useful.
I had high hopes for the Pocket Drone, but I think I should adopt a "wait and see the reviews" attitude towards future purchases. As grateful as I am for Social Security, it doesn't let me get many big-ticket luxuries. [wry smile]
Backpack is great touch. Looks like a carbon frame with plastic coverings? How is vibration suppression? Any issues with the snap payload mounts?
the 35min flight is attainable within hover close to the ground.
For normal flying you are looking at around 22min flight time, which is normal considering the battery technology available.
Have you had a 35minute flight, or close to it??
We have developed our software and our own PCB. There was no software available that can handle all the features of the PlexiDrone. However, we have something pretty awesome that we will discuss for the Very First Time here: The PlexiDrone has an amazing modular payload mechanism....but Plexi also has a developers port allowing you to interface with the flight controller through direct serial connection. You also have access to 3.3, 5v, and 11.1 V ports...all data captures by your payload can be relayed to the ground station, AND you can control the payload using our PlexiGCS software. This was developed just for you, the amazing developers that made this industry from scratch!
For more info or to order check out >> http://igg.me/at/plexidrone/x/8320110
Hi Nikolas, I'd be interested to meet you sometime. I'm about an hour outside Toronto.
I think part of the confusion here is that Arducopter is a computer program, not an electronics board. So saying that you use custom electronics does not answer the question as to whether or not you are using Arducopter. Many other manufacturers are custom making electronics, and then running Arducopter on it.
Hey guys, I'm disclosing this right now, I am a co-founder at DreamQii and I would like to help answer any questions you might have!
We are actually not using APM, AeroQuad, ArduPilot or any other such product on PlexiDrone. All PCBs are designed in house and with great care, but thanks for the compliment! We have been working on PlexiDrone for over two years now and built it from the ground up
There is no free lunch. Or perhaps more accurately, all lunches are free..
If they have based their system on APM, they have to share any derived work. This is the fundamental principle of open source and the GPL license.
At the moment the silence makes me think they have. Looking at how aggressive they do PR, they would have shouted from the rooftops if the autopilot was made from scratch in-house for the project.
This is step forward in user experience. I like that idea.