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[note that this was done in a "capture room", which had external cameras that gave the drone precise position information. So it isn't quite the same thing as doing it in the real world.]

From RoboHub:

The best human drone pilots are very good at doing this and have so far always outperformed autonomous systems in drone racing. Now, a research group at the University of Zurich (UZH) has created an algorithm that can find the quickest trajectory to guide a quadrotor – a drone with four propellers – through a series of waypoints on a circuit. “Our drone beat the fastest lap of two world-class human pilots on an experimental race track”, says Davide Scaramuzza, who heads the Robotics and Perception Group at UZH and the Rescue Robotics Grand Challenge of the NCCR Robotics, which funded the research.

“The novelty of the algorithm is that it is the first to generate time-optimal trajectories that fully consider the drones’ limitations”, says Scaramuzza. Previous works relied on simplifications of either the quadrotor system or the description of the flight path, and thus they were sub-optimal. “The key idea is, rather than assigning sections of the flight path to specific waypoints, that our algorithm just tells the drone to pass through all waypoints, but not how or when to do that”, adds Philipp Foehn, PhD student and first author of the paper in Science Robotics.

External cameras provide position information in real-time

The researchers had the algorithm and two human pilots fly the same quadrotor through a race circuit. They employed external cameras to precisely capture the motion of the drones and – in the case of the autonomous drone – to give real-time information to the algorithm on where the drone was at any moment. To ensure a fair comparison, the human pilots were given the opportunity to train on the circuit before the race. But the algorithm won: all its laps were faster than the human ones, and the performance was more consistent. This is not surprising, because once the algorithm has found the best trajectory it can reproduce it faithfully many times, unlike human pilots.

Before commercial applications, the algorithm will need to become less computationally demanding, as it now takes up to an hour for the computer to calculate the time-optimal trajectory for the drone. Also, at the moment, the drone relies on external cameras to compute where it was at any moment. In future work, the scientists want to use onboard cameras. But the demonstration that an autonomous drone can in principle fly faster than human pilots is promising. “This algorithm can have huge applications in package delivery with drones, inspection, search and rescue, and more”, says Scaramuzza.

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Drones for Environmental Protection: Oceans Unmanned and The Ocean Cleanup Join Forces.

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By: Miriam McNabbon.

In another amazing implementation of drones for environmental protection, Oceans Unmanned and The Ocean Cleanup have joined forces to fight marine debris.

Oceans Unmanned, Inc. is a non-profit dedicated to the use of drones for environmental protection:  The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit founded in 2013 to deal with the problem of plastic and debris in the ocean.  Now, the two will work together, using drones to evaluate and improve ongoing efforts to capture and remove marine debris in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. “Later this summer, a team of Oceans Unmanned operators equipped with several UAS will deploy offshore with The Ocean Cleanup researchers for a six-week campaign to conduct daily aerial surveys in an attempt to quantify the distribution and abundance of marine debris in the target area,” says an Oceans Unmanned press release.

 

"It is estimated that over five trillion pieces of plastic currently litter the ocean and accumulate in five ocean garbage patches, with the largest one being the Great Pacific Garbage Patch located halfway between California and Hawaii. Founded in 2013 to address this issue, The Ocean Cleanup is developing technologies to capture and retain at-sea marine debris to bring it back to shore for recycling. In July, the organization will head back out to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to deploy the third iteration of their ocean cleanup design. The first system was deployed in 2018, and the second, improved version in 2019. “We successfully performed a feasibility assessment on UAS-based remote sensing for the quantification and detection of floating plastic in 2018,” stated Robin de Vries, The Ocean Cleanup Geospatial Analyst. “When we decided to ramp up this area of our work, we turned to Oceans Unmanned because of their years of proven maritime UAS expertise."

"We’re very excited about this partnership,” said Matt Pickett, Director of Oceans Unmanned. “We’ve been following the great work of The Ocean Cleanup for several years, and we’re looking forward to supporting their efforts. We’re big believers in the power of technology to address longstanding environmental challenges and marine debris is an area where we think we can make a big impact. The waterproof Aeromapper Talon Amphibious UAS will be launched from the ship, survey for approximately two hours, then perform a water landing and be recovered by a small boat.  Imagery captured by the UAS will be analyzed through an automated neural network for object detection which can direct on-site collection efforts and evaluate recovery system efficiency."

We will be operating over 1000 miles offshore, and a UAS is the perfect tool to help analyze this global problem,” CAPT Brian Taggart, NOAA (ret), Director, Oceans Unmanned, tells DRONELIFE. “We hope to make an impact!

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About the Aeromapper Talon Amphibious

The Amphibious version of the Aeromapper Talon allows maritime operations by autonomously belly landing on water. It’s the perfect solution for aerial observation, data collection and mapping thanks to its dual camera set up and video link range up to 20kms.
The Aeromapper Talon Amphibious is a Transport Canada Compliant drone and is manufactured by Aeromao Inc, the leading Canadian UAS fixed wing manufacturer and drone solution provider.

How does it work? The Aeromapper Talon Amphibious is fully waterproof, and its simply unsinkable. Its extreme buoyancy keeps the flotation line low, all its access doors and ports are cleverly designed to keep water out.

More information here

Read more…

From Hackaday:

Electric RC aircraft are not known for long flight times, with multirotors usually doing 20-45 minutes, while most fixed wings will struggle to get past two hours. [Matthew Heiskell] blew these numbers out of the water with a 10 hour 45 minute flight with an RC plane on battery power. Condensed video after the break.

2021-06-23-10.png?w=400https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/2021-06-23-10.png?resize=250,159 250w, https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/2021-06-23-10.png?resize=400,254 400w, https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/2021-06-23-10.png?resize=800,508 800w" alt="" width="400" height="254" data-attachment-id="483967" data-permalink="https://hackaday.com/2021/06/27/electric-rc-plane-flies-for-almost-11-hours/2021-06-23-10/" data-orig-file="https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/2021-06-23-10.png" data-orig-size="1072,681" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="2021-06-23 (10)" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/2021-06-23-10.png?w=400" data-large-file="https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/2021-06-23-10.png?w=800" /> Flight stats right before touchdown. Flight time in minutes on the left, and miles travelled second from the top on the right.

The secret? An efficient aircraft, a well tuned autopilot and a massive battery. [Matthew] built a custom 4S 50 Ah li-ion battery pack from LG 21700 cells, with a weight of 2.85 kg (6.3 lbs). The airframe is a Phoenix 2400 motor glider, with a 2.4 m wingspan, powered by a 600 Kv brushless motor turning a 12 x 12 propeller. The 30 A ESC’s low voltage cutoff was disabled to ensure every bit of juice from the battery was available.

To improve efficiency and eliminate the need to maintain manual control for the marathon flight, a GPS and Matek 405 Wing flight controller running ArduPilot was added. ArduPilot is far from plug and play, so [Matthew] would have had to spend a lot of timing tuning and testing parameters for maximum flight efficiency. We are really curious to see if it’s possible to push the flight time even further by improving aerodynamics around the protruding battery, adding a pitot tube sensor to hold the perfect airspeed speed on the lift-drag curve, and possibly making use of thermals with ArduPilot’s new soaring feature.

A few of you are probably thinking, “Solar panels!”, and so did Matthew. He has another set of wings covered in them that he used to do a seven-hour flight. While it should theoretically increase flight time, he found that there were a number of significant disadvantages. Besides the added weight, electrical complexity and weather dependence, the solar cells are difficult to integrate into the wings without reducing aerodynamic efficiency. Taking into account what we’ve already seen of [rcflightest]’s various experiments/struggles with solar planes, we are starting to wonder if it’s really worth the trouble.

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More and more government drone pilot and technician jobs are being advertised. If you are a school or training institution, you may wish to commission a build by people who are already supplying government drones. But what about the costs you say? Like many things, it depends on what you want, who you know and how charming you are. If you are a pilot, mechanic, school, startup or government agency on a tight budget, you can still look sleek and dominate at a fraction of the usual cost.

Airframes somewhat similar to these can be commissioned surprisingly cheaply. They look the part on the ground and in the air. There is ample space for telematics and avionics. If you are a designer and manufacturer of these electronic devices, having a test platform that looks the part can make all the difference when it comes to closing sales.

o, who can help with this and more? Tommy! Tommy owns TMMY Scale Composites in Lamphung, Thailand. Lamphung is a short drive or train ride from serene and picturesque Chiang Mai. Tommy’s first question will be which airfoil do you want? 

Should you want to train or train others on a platform that looks big bureaucracy without breaking the bank, contact Tommy at: Tmmy Scale Composite

266 Mu1 T.Muang NGA A.muang
Lamphun Thailand 51000
Tel. +6681 344-1534
Email: tmmyscalecompt@gmail.com

Website: https://tmmy.pantown.com/

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DS600

DS600 is made from reinforced carbon fiber. “H”design makes it stronger and durable. It equips with T-motor

505-S propulsion system to improve the efficiency and endurance. The foldable propeller and landing gear make

the drone easy to carry. DS600 is perfect for long range inspection, surveillance and mapping.

 

  • Wheelbase: 600MM
  • Dimension: 600mmX600mmX 300mm
  • RTF weight(no battery): 2.5KG
  • Max payload : 2KG
  • Max take-off weight : 6KG
  • Working altitude : 1-500m
  • Flying speed : 1-15m/s
  • Endurance: 40-60min

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ArduRover Skid Steering

Hi, I'm building ArduRover with Skid Steering, The platform are base of DFROBOT Pirate 4WD and using 2 DC Motor L298N

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I'm using the firmare for Pixhawk 1 (fmuv3)

4.0.0-FIRMWARE_VERSION_TYPE_OFFICIAL

and according the ardupilot docs for Rover
My config for CH1 and CH 3 are

For “Skid steering” vehicles (like R2D2) these parameters values will need to be set:

Actualy its depend on your wiring setup at L298N for direction

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Here is the schematic of how I wiring it.

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The ENA and ENB jumper was remove.

For skid-steering vehicles like the Pirate 4WD from DFROBOT
Set MOT_PWM_TYPE = 3

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In my transmitter when throttle is zero the the ch1 push left a quarter, it will rotate the rover to left (left wheel stop - right wheel move) and also the opposite. But if push full it will move fast forward.

If the ch 3 push half more (55%) it will move forward slowly. I'm still setup some parameters for smooth moving.

 

Read more…
100KM

An In-depth Comparison Of Mapping Drones

When acquiring a mapping or surveying drone, the choice is quickly narrowed to a fixed-wing airplane combined with Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) for its vastly greater range, versatility and ease of use. Within this segment, there are several commercial-grade solutions of European origin. But comparing their capabilities and limitations can be difficult.

The following comparison was made to provide a detailed insight into the characteristics of the leading suppliers in this field. The data has been verified across multiple sources. Several aspects have been calculated to provide a consistent representation of the data. The calculation methods and sources are provided at the bottom of this article.

The platforms chosen for this comparison are:

  • The DeltaQuad Pro #MAP by Vertical Technologies
  • The WingtraOne by Wingtra
  • The Trinity F90+ by Quantum Systems
  • The Marlyn by AtmosUAV
  • The eBee X by SenseFly 

In this article, you will find an abstract of the comparison.
Click here to read the full comparison

 

Key Features

A quick rundown of the most critical aspects that are relevant to mapping.

  • Max flight time is calculated at sea level with camera payload.
  • The coverage is calculated by multiplying the maximum flight distance by the maximum camera resolution. It is based on 3CM per pixel with an overlap of 50%.
  • To compare pricing a package was selected for each model that most closely resembles: 42MP camera, <1CM PPK, 2 Batteries, Standard radio, GCS (if available).

 

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Maximum surveying area in Hectares

The maximum area that can be mapped in a single flight is determined by several factors such as camera resolution, cruise speed, endurance, and lens options.
This comparison is based on the highest resolution offered for each platform, combined with the maximum flight distance. The values have been calculated based on 3cm per pixel resolution and a 50% image overlap. The values have then been compensated to account for the camera’s minimum trigger interval.
 

Maximum telemetry range

The maximum range at which the UAV can be controlled. Long-range communications is important for corridor-type surveys such as power lines, pipelines, railways, and roads.

The indicated ranges are the maximum radio range as specified by the supplier. Nominal ranges can be lower.

 

Maximum image resolution

The maximum image resolution in Megapixels is the total number of pixels that make up a single image. This can be an important factor for a fixed-wing/VTOL UAV.

A higher resolution allows:

  • Covering larger areas
  • Flying at higher altitudes
  • Producing higher resolution end results
  • Better post-processing performance with more accuracy
 

Maximum flight time

The maximum flight time for fixed-wing UAV depends on the altitude above sea level. As the altitude increases, the UAVs need to fly faster due to a lower air density. However, the lower air density also provides less drag, therefore in most cases, the maximum flight distance remains the same at all altitudes.

 

The indicated maximum flight times are at sea level while carrying a regular camera payload.

 

Read the full comparison

The full comparison contains detailed technical specifications, pricing details, sources, and methods of calculation.
Click here to read the full comparison

Read more…

IDIPLOYER MP2.1, an extremely lightweight, feature-packed and affordable drone docking-station. It has been designed and built by idroneimages, based out of Reading, England, to enable fully autonomous drone operations. Integrated with their proprietary contact-charging system and the powerful FlytNow Auto software, the IDIPLOYER MP2.1 is an obvious choice for drone service providers and businesses alike.

With their intensive and iterative efforts, the engineers at idroneimages provide groundbreaking features to the market, including: 

  • Lightweight enclosure: Weighing just 23 kg (50 lbs), the IDIPLOYER MP2.1 offers increased portability, which eases shipping to anywhere across the world and supports easy installations, on building rooftops and vehicles
  • Autonomous contact-based charging: From 15% to 100% battery charge within 50 minutes without employing complex robotics or battery cell modifications, thereby reducing mechanical complexity and increasing reliability
  • Precision landing: Computer-vision-aided technology for automatic drone landings with 99.99% accuracy; includes additional rollers for robust performance
  • Weatherproof design: Designed based on IP65 standards to withstand harsh environment; comes with thermostatic heating & peltier cooling capabilities for extreme temperature control

The ongoing pandemic has forced businesses to rethink their approach towards deploying automated systems, as they have now become more of a necessity than a mere nice-to-have. With the IDIPLOYER MP2.1, idroneimages presents a turnkey solution to the market that is both affordable and accessible. This widens the scope for businesses to deploy fully automated drones in several areas, such as aerial monitoring, progress tracking, security, and incident response.

Place and Time

Join the FlytBase and idroneimages teams this Friday, 21 May, at 11:00 CST, as they take you through the journey of this feature-rich drone-nest from ideation to production. The event will be live-streamed for worldwide access. Register now at https://flytnow.com/flytlaunch/idiployer/ and stand the chance to win some exciting prizes!

Some local timezones for your quick reference:

  • London: 17:00 BST
  • San Francisco: 09:00 PDT
  • New York: 12:00 EST
  • Berlin: 18:00 CEST
  • Abu Dhabi: 20:00 GST
  • New Delhi: 21:30 IST

How to Register

Registration is free and as simple as a few clicks! Follow this link and sign yourself up. Registrants gain exclusive access to a giveaway for a limited time!

Save your seat for the big day and you could be a part of the FlytNow Preferred Partner program, with access to our wide marketing collateral, rich global network, and strong digital presence!

Reserve your spot here: https://flytnow.com/flytlaunch/idiployer/

About idroneimages

idroneimages was founded in 2018 by a group of like-minded drone enthusiasts who wanted to demonstrate the transformational capabilities of drones in business operations. From safety to detailed inspection imagery, drones have been integrated with industries such as agriculture and wind energy. Today, idroneimages operates some of the most complex and highly functional drones in the market, adapting them to its clients' needs and specific requirements.

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Lithium Ion battery Pack designer utility

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Lithium ion batteries have a higher energy capacity than Lithium Polymer packs, in general. Higher capacity lithium ion packs can be designed if the current draw of the drones are known. We have built a web utility to find the right chemistry of cells to use, from among the hundreds of different cells. 

Input the max weight, and current discharge of the drone and see: 

  • Battery cell configuration (number of cells in parallel and series) 
  • Approximate flight time as compared to current aircraft (without weight change)
  • Battery weight.

Reach out to us shout@rotoye.com to get free access to this utility. 

Read more…

3D printed truck

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The high cost of good RC truck kits, diminishing need for such kits & the noise of gearboxes made me look elsewhere for a robot platform.  3D printing a truck from scratch, with only a few metal parts still being off the shelf, was the next step.  The only parts which have to be outsourced are the motors, steering servo, & steering knuckles.  Everything else is 3D printed or home made electronicals.  The size was based on the original Tamiya lunchbox.

 

 

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The remote control is a single paw 3 channel, with 100mW radio, ball point pen springs, hall effect sensors.

 

 

 

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The remote control is charged inductively.

 

 

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Motors are direct drive Propdrive 4248's of any KV rewound with 20 turns of 26AWG.   They don't produce enough torque to go up hills.  The motor sensor is a dual hall effect sensor resolver.  

The main problem is cooling the motors while getting more torque.  Metal motor mounts of the right shape continue to be cost prohibitive & PLA doesn't dissipate heat.

 

 

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Electronicals automate just enough to drive it with 1 paw, but not so much that it's never finished.

 

 

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Traction & steering are 2 separate modules.  Steering uses a brushless servo with stock lunchbox servo saver.

 

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Motors are powered by L6234's mounted dead bug style to get the heat out.

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Tires are printed out of TPU in varying shapes to adjust hardness & traction.

 

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Rear tires have a flat wide shape for more forwards traction.  Front tires have a round shape for more sideways traction.

 

 

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The battery is completely enclosed.

 

 

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