This one should be easy if you have any of the current crop of Kickstarter VTOL airframes, of course I will award less points so you might not win.

The task is simple.... (not)

Auto take off

Autonomous hover for at least 1 minute after take off

Transition to winged flight and fly no higher than 120m

Then circle radius 80m for as long as you can. (This makes the circle 500m a turn)

This of course points to the current delivery drone mania. To get noticed by Amazon try for greater than 24km about the distance their machine can deliver (apparently)

We will make this a six month contest as its hard. On the plus side its building time in the Northern Hemisphere.

For extra points some sort of silly cargo that makes me smile. Super bonus points added for an autonomous vertical landing as well. (All landings to be vertical)

If you can make a multirotor fly that far then all well and good, but I will be looking for the least amount of power used in event of a draw. 

The longest distance wins.

Good luck, I look forward to May 2nd 2016 and the fruit of your labors.

Glittering prizes TBA

Let the pointing out of my Swiss cheese thinking commence...

Views: 11960

Comment by Randy on December 1, 2015 at 7:34pm

Now this is going to be good.  I'm placing my bets right now on Rob winning but no matter how it turns out it'll be interesting.  It's very tempting to get one of those XPlus One VTOLs to enter it even though I think it will have a hard time against a trad heli or QuadPlane.

Comment by davidbuzz on December 1, 2015 at 7:51pm

I think, if you want to truly test a “delivery drone”, then make everyone “deliver” a Bessa-Block as far as they can.    ( it’s about 6kg of concrete):  

Comment by Andrew Rabbitt on December 1, 2015 at 8:44pm

A Bessa-Block would make for an expensive delivery machine.

How about delivering this:

Amazon says:

  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounce
Comment by JB on December 1, 2015 at 9:15pm

Awesome challenge! I'm in!

Seeing that there is only one situation that I can think of which requires immediate delivery, namely when one is at the beach and loses a thong, I came up with this.

I call out all heli challengers (looking at you Rob!) to beat this 100kmh 60km range top secret amphibious (note the floaters...), driving, VTOL Australian sports shoe delivery system called "ThongCopter" TM*! To eject the load just simply fly inverted at the delivery area with reverse thrust (6kg of it)! ;-)

Um and yeah if you order now, it even comes with some complementary spare balls for some more sandy beach fun! 

Now this is what I call a great idea! :-D

* For privacy reasons no live FPV streaming is available on these services.

Comment by Gary Mortimer on December 1, 2015 at 9:21pm

I think you are breaking one of the first rules of drone delivery David it should not be something practical. JB is probably Bob on the money. Where is the ThongCopter Kickstarter page JB??? Liking the hanger rash wing tip protection BTW.

Also well done for allowing me to mention

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on December 2, 2015 at 2:21am

Great challenge. I've got both a FireFLY6 and a XPlus One. One or both will do this.

Comment by JB on December 2, 2015 at 2:41am

Hey Chris

But the real question is have you flown them and does it get the required range in real life?

I know that mind does! Ahem without the thong, floaties and RC car of course! The quad components are in fact permanently attached. ;-)



At least you see merit where merit is due! ;-)

The hanger rashies are in fact dual purpose and are the wing tip floaties to keep it buoyant on water landings as well.

I thought from your competition rules that Kickstarter sourced aircraft would be subject to pre-mature discrimination and points reduction due to promising everything now and under performing on delivery? :-s

However, I hoped you also noticed the mounting position of the balls representing what I think of the idea of drone deliveries in general!

Comment by Coby on December 2, 2015 at 8:03am

So cool that VTOL stuff is gaining ground!  I had to go way back in my archives for this one.  That's after Bill P helped us tweak the UDB4 for VTOL.  Notice you never see it "land" in the video.  It did.  Just not vertically.  I have to find some time build something for this T3.

Comment by Gary Mortimer on December 2, 2015 at 11:03am

How did Bill handle the transition?? I think less will be more for this round. My contra rotating prop set up arrived last week and I am quite excited to try it. I have always struggled to contain yaw with a single prop.

Comment by Coby on December 2, 2015 at 12:40pm

Hey Gary.  Bill helped us get the DCM setup so the board could be initialized pointing up and not screw up the math I don't really understand.  I hacked together some code to handle a VTOL mode, which was really just tricking the board into hovering a plane in 3D.  It's been awhile since I played with it and I am not even sure the VTOL branch made the cut for the UDB5.  Anyway, for that I flight I seem to remember we would hover in VTOL mode, switch to manual with some throttle applied to roll it into forward flight, switch back to stabilize, and then do the reverse to transition.  All very cumbersome.  And not any indication of UDB5 capabilities and/or limits but more about me doing brain surgery with a spoon.  Short version - we had to shelve crazy VTOL work to try to pay some bills.  I do really like where PX4 folks are going with the VTOL stuff they have shown with the twin motors out on the wings.  We were pretty close to having something flyable but could never really get enough airflow over the control surfaces when you started backing down hill in a hover.  My gut tells me the twin setup would help solve those issues without the added weight and complexity of a full quad/fixed wing hybrid.  As with any good design is about picking the right trade-offs.


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