The Panoptes eBumper just went live on Kickstarter. Backed!
eBumper4 helps a pilot avoid obstacles at low speeds. It also provides additional protection against erroneous control inputs and occasional light wind gusts.
- Fly - With eBumper4 installed, flight in open areas is unchanged. The pilot can switch to Precision Mode which scales back control inputs, allowing for more precise aircraft control.
- Detect - The eBumper4 continuously monitors its environment for obstacles. If one is detected, eBumper4 responds to reduce the likelihood of a collision.
- Correct - As the aircraft moves away from the obstacle, normal control is returned to the user, and operations can continue as before.
Four sonar sensors provide the drone with information about the physical environment to the front, right, left, and above it. When eBumper4 senses an obstacle in its field of view, it prevents the drone from getting too close to the obstacle. It “bumps” off the object, keeping the drone at a safe distance. You can then navigate the drone safely away from the obstruction.eBumper4 Components for Phantom 2 line(beta version shown)eBumper4 Components for Iris+ (functional "works like" prototype version shown)
Robust integration of the eBumper4 sonar sensors required a significant development and testing effort to understand the very noisy environment of a quadcopter. Our solution ultimately combines a mix of precise sensor placement and triggering, clever filtering, as well as smart physical integration.eBumper4 for Phantom 2 line (beta version shown)eBumper4 for Iris+ (functional "works like" prototype version shown)
The eBumper4 ships with a set of base features, all of which you can configure:
- Precision and Performance Modes: From your remote, select one of two eBumper4 protection distances, which governs how far away the drone starts executing a bump avoidance maneuver. Choose Performance Mode for faster speeds in open areas, or choose Precision Mode for slower speeds in more cluttered environments.
- Auto-Takeoff: With the literal flip of a switch, your drone takes off to a hover about 6 feet off the ground. Thanks to the top sensor, there will be no more unfortunate encounters with your living room ceiling.
- Precision Control: Adjust the sensitivity of your aircraft to your control inputs, giving you the ability to more precisely control position and velocity. This is especially useful for indoor flight in tight spaces.
- Self-Centering: When obstacles are present to the left and right, the self-centering function centers the aircraft between them, equalizing the distance to the obstacle on either side.
- More to come (see "The Future of eBumper4" section)!
eBumper4 features can be configured via a graphical user interface available for Android and Windows PC, so you can tailor eBumper4 to best suit your individual needs. Don't have Android phone/tablet or Windows PC and want Mac or iPhone? Let us know, and we'll see what we can do!eBumper4 Configuration Interface Mock-Up
eBumper4 comes with four sonar sensors and an electronics board pre-installed in an injection-molded ABS plastic housing, mounting hardware, installation manual, operations manual, some nifty Panoptes stickers, and a Panoptes lanyard for your remote control.
eBumper4 is designed as a retrofit kit that attaches to pre-existing interfaces on your drone, and installs in about 10-20 minutes. Below are the main installation steps for the eBumper4 on the DJI Phantom. The install for Iris+ will be similarly straightforward.eBumper4 Installation on Phantom 2 Vision (beta version)
eBumper4 is designed with the future in mind. New capabilities will be available as software updates instead of costly hardware upgrades. The Panoptes team is busy developing additional features for the eBumper4:
Tractor Beam: Smoothly approach an object of interest, giving a real-life zoom effect to your video.
Relative Position Hold: Keep a constant position relative to an object of interest - whether it is moving or not.
Obstacle Avoidance for Waypoint Flying: When on a waypoint following mission, autonomously avoid obstacles.
Training Mode: Learning to fly a powerful drone like the Phantom and Iris+ can be an intimidating task. Training mode lets you gradually scale up your control inputs as you become more comfortable with flying.