SenseFly Flocking

Its interesting that they are doing cool things but not quite breaking out commercially


But the other side of the coin is lots of money is being thrown at UAS in Europe and America really is beginning to fall behind.

Maybe ETH will put out their own or an enhanced opensource AP one day

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  • @bosak thanks will do, have to admit never worked with or knew anyone from media labs. Knew/ worked with CSAIL or whatever the name of it is now ( folks who are at CS/math end of spectrum than arts)

    @Dara I do admit to open nature of innovation. Have been around in open source pre kernel 1.0 release and having seen what has happened, have no doubts about success of open innovation. Unfortunately there are counter examples to it as well, I tend qoute "source fire" as I watched it very closely - a case of open source going closed. Then there are innumerable cases of open source projects dying out. The key ( heavy disclaimer :- afaik - this is my observation )for successful open source projects is a project leader who is respected in the developer community for technical expertise, with vision and good political skills ;).
    I am sure there are many projects where a core of people would act as the leader. Or else someone from the developer community would step up to the plate and assume leadership.

    What I am sure of is Chris has been around and has even watching trends and knows more than most of us ( defenitely more than me :)) about all this and would have a vision for diydrones.

    @chris do u want to share a bit of ur vision with all of us. Without revealing too much, so that the nice surprises ( e.g. Like APM 2) still remain suprises...
  • @Bosak: The guy that developed autopilot full time for Fly'nSense during 3 years of his PhD did notably better product than diydrones community during 3 years.

    This aside being an exaggeration is also comparing apples to orages: I prefer the OPEN SOURCE techs here than the closed systems of these guys or any other company.

    I prefer to use the products here though still not fully matured, but avoid proprietary hardware and software. The fact that the products here are somewhat 'raw' is great! Lots of room for variation and innovation. 

    What you do not understand is the OPEN SOURCE concept propagated in this community, in the beginning it is slow (like pulling the string on a bow) but when the arrow is thrown, it flies high and goes far. 

    I think the developers and techs here are superb, I believe they are about to change the world, I put my money where my mouth is for these techs than for some proprietary system that only benefits few rich VCs and bankers.

    I did startups in Boston area in late mid 90s, and I tell you what is done here is grand, you need to put on your glasses and look under the hood. 



    I think as long as the schoolboy applications of spying on girls in the pool and chasing "bad guyz" are regurgitated in our heads the so called killer-apps will not be found. 

    A terrific paradigm-shift of concepts for application are necessary to catapult the techs, here in this community, into a new realm of commercial viability.

    As soon as I say drone or UAV people think about spying! It is an urban culture issue. Not a tech issue nor a pricing issue.

    @Anish: Check out MIT's Media lab "autonomous agent" theories and applications that were conceptualized in 90s.

  • T3

    'For example a mapping project requires aerial data acquisition,
    ground control surveys and data processing.
    Of all of these steps the briefest is taking
    the photos and with fairly low rates in
    the developed world for hiring a full scale it is hard to justify a UAV.'
    I am a developer of Pteryx system for mapping and I assure you taking the photos
    the correct way is exactly you need very specific UAV. The process takes around 2h
    per 9km2 and is the least predictable part of the job, requiring highest quality equipment.
    Job processing can take days, but then you are working at clean office.The idea 'I just make a photo of that field' works for amateurs only above their own field.

    'Ahh...... 10K for autonomous foam wing ?  Seriously? Us UAV nuts can do so much better for that price tag!'
    No you can't. The guy that developed autopilot full time for Fly'nSense during 3 years of his PhD did notably better product than diydrones community during 3 years.
    Just watch closely how integrated and ease to use it is, how many research application they implemented.
    Ardupilot is nowhere near that quality and when it will be, F&S will be somewhere else. They are just better focused and regularly funded, swarm robotics is a way of hidden sponsoring clever people in reasonnably managed countries.

  • @Anish

    I have a computer science degree, spent 20 years doing IT support, am a rated pilot, and am pretty bright. What I really lack is the mechanical and electrical engineering skills to build a decent FPV/UAV system, even if someone hands me all the parts. My build quality sucks. And getting the build done right is probably the most important step as all the piloting and software tuning skills aren't helpful if the airframe is unstable, or there is a lot of interference, or the servo throws aren't equal, or ....

    You hit the nail on the head - a good community or team makes a home built UAV solution much more viable.


  • @david out of curiosity, would be keen understand the list of difficult to acquire skills, may be we could find friends/ collegues who have them and get them involved in UAV building :). Thus improving availability of skills to the community.
  • Greetings,

    Yes, us UAV nuts can put together a really nice system for far less than $10K, but it is a one off and the resulting system requires some difficult to acquire skills to maintain, thus preventing it from being a viable product for anyone other than someone willing and able to hack on it.

    The additional cost of the Sensefly goes into making it end-user friendly for a non-UAV nut.


  • Greetings,

    I live in Central Illinois and so am biased, but sUAVs can play a huge role in agriculture, even in developed countries with access to relatively low cost full size aircraft. There is an enormous amount of farmland out here that could be imaged and monitored much more cheaply with a sUAV.

    As a transition point, a regulation allowing for sUAVs to be flow by licensed pilots in rural areas would allow some US investment and business development to get started. 

    I quite agree - if we need to run a transponder and lights on a sUAV it will become prohibitively expensive for most applications.


  • Moderator

    I agree Marc, I don't think the person that knows the killer app has bumped into sUAS at the minute. But they will soon and we will all say oh of course!

    There are some large scale agriculture UAS trials going on in the UK. The operator is CAA licenced and able to fly BLOS. So also is another chap doing coastal flights. 

    You can grab lots of data from LOS though. Turning the collect into something meaningful is where the work is.

  • @David, the problem is that we are still talking about toys... If the demand is that the systems fulfil aeronautic requirements, we are no longer talking about 10k for a system. Regulations are not based on the applications but on safety (ok, they should be :-), so I can see the argument for line of sight, and that is and will be the most limiting factor.  And please tell me the commercialy succesful applications in Canada and Australia. In Europe what I see is still 90% science...

    @Robo: Yes, and that is not one of the expensive ones. You just have to calculate for the cost of an engeneering team and the low number in sales. Of course "we" can also built autonomous planes, but if you want to start to sell AND live of that, do the calculation. The customer wants a working product, so you have to do lots of testing... also time consuming and expensive.

    And Mike, you are totally right. I just looked around for microlight planes because they are not really more expensive then a "good" UAS and much more versatile to use... Developing world is a good point, but also not from a commercial point of view, since there is no money to earn.

    My conclusion: We still need to find THE application that justifies intense use of UAS...

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