3D Robotics

PocketDrone -- new APM-based Kickstarter project


Just launched at CES from AirDroids: the $500 Pocket Drone. Looks good! APM-based and well-engineered. From the Kickstarter listing:

We saw a lot of kits out there that were powerful and flexible, but took a long time to put together, tune, and make work correctly. There were off the shelf products that worked out of the box, but were limited in their functionality. And there wasn't anything out there that was both powerful and convenient to carry. So we decided to create something that combined the best of everything we had seen, but was more elegant and accessible.

That's how we came up with The Pocket Drone, the world's smallest heavy lift micro-copter. It's as powerful as an open source kit, works out of the box with everything you need like an off the shelf product, and is easy to take with you wherever you go, without having to bring along an extra case or bag just for your drone. We've gone through dozens of iterations to create the perfect drone product that can be used by everyone.

1. Unique cutting-edge collapsible compact design

  • Innovative swing arm and telescoping tail frame
  • Folding propellers
  • Built-in landing gear
  • Built-in camera mount
  • Travel case included

2. Easy to fly and simple to maintain

  • Pick your controller system
  • Pilot from our included controller or bring your own DSM compatible radio controller
  • Control from any Android tablet or phone with a USB port
  • Simple, quick and inexpensive to maintain and repair

3. Lightweight with maximum payload  

  • Flight and control is nimble, stable and accurate
  • Weighs in at around 1 pound
  • Carries an action camera like the GoPro(tm) with outer case (not included)
  • Capable of carrying up to 1/2 pound payload

4. Ready to fly (RTF) and quick to deploy  

  • Comes ready to fly right out of the box
  • Deploys in less than 20 seconds
  • Quick recharge system

5. Advanced software and systems with autopilot and "follow me" mode

  • State of the art flight controls, algorithms and connectivity
  • APM compatible flight controller 6-axis accelerometers, 3 axis gyroscopes, barometric sensor (altitude)
  • Integrated onboard autopilot Flight planning with Google Maps
  • Fly by GPS waypoints
  • "Follow Me" mode (requires mobile device with GPS)
  • Altitude Hold
  • Return to home (RTH)
  • Headfree mode (orientation independent flying)
  • Load/Save and repeat/replay flight missions
  • Real-time flight data
  • Artificial Horizon
  • Altitude Heading indicator
  • GPS signal strength
  • PC, Mac and Linux compatible
  • Mission Planner or QGroundControl Compatible
  • Android compatible (tablet and phone)
  • iOS compatibility coming soon

6. Longest Flight times of any copter under $500

  • Tricopter design means longest flight times available
  • Up to 20 minute flights (fully loaded with camera)
  • Exclusive propellers engineered and optimized especially for multicopters
  • Built-in low power alarm

7. High quality materials and components

  • Professional grade build quality and workmanship
  • Extra durable and robust airframe
  • Carbon fiber key components
  • Highest quality components
  • Advanced high-impact plastic resins
  • Designed in the USA

8. Upgradeable, expandable and hackable

  • Flight controller is programmable and easy to modify with open source tools
  • Mobile app is customizable and configurable with open source plugins
  • Designed for and by open-source enthusiasts
  • Always up-to-date firmware upgrades as improvements in control, power and stability become available
  • Add real-time video transmission for FPV
  • Add goggles for a full bird’s eye immersive experience

9. Designed with multiple built-in safety features

  • Exclusive retracting/breakaway propeller design
  • Minimal damage/injury from prop strike
  • Small size = lightweight vehicle = smaller props = reduced accident injury/damage potential
  • Micro tricopter design means much less spinning prop area
  • 33% less noise than any quad even before balancing and optimization
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  • Knut - everything is relative
    Michal - consider the ratio between isolated and non-isolated weight. Smooth footage gets easier as ratio shifts in favour of camera.
    Mustafa - heavy lift microcopter, not heavy lift multicopter.
    mP1 - not everyone relishes the engineering side of this hobby like we do here.
    Dave - completely agree. Love this design, totally offers something new. I have a 250g (AUW) Carbon Fibre micro quad which can carry it's own weight quite well. Easy to get relatively stable video from too... But the pocket drone appears to be just as cool and much more portable.
    Rowan - I agree, would love to see just how much the pivots increase safety and minimises damage in event of a collision. I once had to put down a mini quad with 5030 props using my bare hands (i connected wrong channels between receiver and kk board between flights - sent the thing flying across the room towards my pets), and I was lucky to escape with a few very minor cuts on my fingers (even though I destroyed 3 out of 4 props). I would love to know where to get some of these prop/spinners from.
  • T3

    Nice.  It seems better than the Iris in every category except for having a camera gimbal.

  • Moderator

    Nice props.. 

  • I'm interested with it frame. Hope it will be on sell.

  • mP1 wrote:

    "Why is there a kickstarter for this when you can just build something like this yourself without much trouble by sourcing the components yourself ?"

    Not everyone has the skills to produce such a small design tri-copter with the capabilities that these guys are offering.

    This seems like more then just off the shelf components, this looks like a legitimately unique design and very convenient and compact product.
  • Kick starter is lost it's uniquness. Before there was only innovative and creative projects that you can only find on kickstarter.com, now they are become a page like ebay or just like any other online shop. People are there to earn money, not raise a company or a need to kick start.

  • Why is there a kickstarter for this when you can just build something like this yourself without much trouble by sourcing the components yourself ?

  • How does this tricopter is world's first heavy lift multicopter?

    How it's possible to get that footage  without a gimbal? Some may say warp stabilization or some sort of software stabilization. We are at the aerial video business www.facebook.com/airvision27 and believe me stabilization via software kills the footage and crops it a lot if the video is too shaky.

  • How do they got so stable video from tricopter without gibal? ;D

  • This looks like a smart design. But does "heavy lift" go together with "Capable of carrying up to 1/2 pound payload" ?

    The term "heavy lift" is often used for rigs capable of carrying DSLRs and professional movie cameras. I suppose given the low airframe weight (which is great), the Pocket Drone is "relatively heavy lift."

    I remember the R10 team making claims about building a "workhorse quad" back in the day. Those kinds of statements invite misunderstandings about otherwise promising projects.

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