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Customizable open source smart charger (2-12s) : BatCha

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We built BatMon for making smart batteries. BatMon can now talk with Ardupilot, Pixhawk, and ROS and enables safe and robust operation of robot using smart batteries. But there is a missing piece, a smart charger that can safely charge batteries with a peace of mind for customers.

So, we are building exactly that, and a lot more, to future proof your workflow as they scale. Below is a sneak peek of the most foolproof futureproof smart charger we know of: BatCha

BatCha features

  • Opensource Firmware
  • 2-12S LiPo Charge
  • Smart battery data interfaces:
    • I2C: Two wire based protocol such as SMBUS
    • CAN BUS: Two wire differential pair robust protocol for UAVCAN, CANaerospace etc
    • LIN BUS : Single wire communication protocol for micro drones
  • Two ports. Charge two battery simultaneously.
  • 500 watt total power. Shareable to either ports
  • Max charging current per port: 20A
  • Measures battery temperature and voltage for safe charging limits for each battery
  • Optional: expansion puck to charge 4x smart batteries per port
  • Optional: Puck for 2-12S dumb battery charging and balancing
  • USB interface for monitoring and controlling charge workflow from PC
  • Optional: Integrated Raspberry Pi Compute module for Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity
  • OLED screen for monitoring and outdoor viewing
  • User Interface engineered for speed and safety. Plug-in to charge-start in less than 4 seconds
  • Zero effort to train customers on battery charging and safety. Customer have two options: Regular charging / Fast Charging
  • Mechanical design optimized for robustness and repairability

Sign up here for more details.

 

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 Arrows Hobby Marlin 64mm EDF PNP  RC Airplane

The Arrows Marlin 64mm EDF is an ALL NEW design with the beginner to intermediate pilot in mind. This plane has a more robust fixed landing gear than most, to handle bumpy landings. More importantly it is the only plane in its class to have flaps to shorten takeoff, and to make approaches and landings more like those of a high wing trainer. The 3150kV motor combined with a 40 Amp ESC, and a powerful 64mm 11 blade EDF, ensure plenty of power for takeoff and maneuvers. The fan sounds like a real turbine.

This plane basically has eight screws and some servo connections to complete assembly. No glue is necessary, and because we use 8 servos we are not running a lot of control rods around. Even the nose wheel has it's own servo. Flap and aileron connections are made with ball linkages, for greater strength at higher speeds. A latch type canopy makes in flight canopy loss a thing of the past.

If you are looking for a first EDF to try, or are looking to move up to a EDF without spending a bundle, this plane is for you.

source from:

https://www.arrows-hobby.net/arrows-hobby-marlin-64mm-edf-jet-pnp-rc-airplane.html

Features

  • Ample thrust courtesy of dual out-runner 64mm 12-bladed fans, dual 40A ESCs and 6S power.
  • Highly realistic functional and scale features.
  • CNC machined-metal shock-absorbing undercarriage.
  • Electric retracts with over-current protection.
  • High quality rubber tires.
  • Bearing-equipped full-flying horizontal stabilizer.
  • Preinstalled ball-linked linkages for precise surface movements.
  • Sleek aerodynamic airframe
  • Screw together assembly
  • Flaps
  • Ball linkages
  • Latch type canopy
  • Ultra durable EPO foam
  • The perfect beginner jet!
  • Park, School, or AMA field
    Arrows Hobby Marlin 64mm EDF PNP  RC Airplane Arrows Hobby Marlin 64mm EDF PNP  RC Airplane Arrows Hobby Marlin 64mm EDF PNP  RC Airplane  Arrows Hobby Marlin 64mm EDF PNP  RC Airplane Arrows Hobby Marlin 64mm EDF PNP  RC Airplane Arrows Hobby Marlin 64mm EDF PNP  RC Airplane
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Rpanion-server 0.7 Released

8183230679?profile=RESIZE_710xRpanion-server 0.7 has been released!

Rpanion-Server is an Open-Source software package for a managing the companion computer (such as the Raspberry Pi) connected to an ArduPilot or PX4 flight controller. It will run on most Linux-based systems.

Rpanion-Server consists of a network manager, MAVLink telemetry routing, flight logging and a low latency video streaming server. All can be managed via a web-based user interface.

Documentation and pre-built disk images for the Raspberry Pi are available at https://www.docs.rpanion.com/software/rpanion-server. Source code is at https://github.com/stephendade/Rpanion-server

New in 0.7 is:

  • Support MJPEG cameras for video streaming
  • Added button to disable all Wi-Fi adapters
  • GUI overhaul, using the Bootstrap framework
  • Various bug fixes

 

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Mavlink3DMap

Mavlink3DMap is a semi-simulator that communicates with Ardupilot SITL vid  UDP and websockets to plot vehicles location and attitudein a 3D environment. It uses HTML, javascript and some 3D and physics libraries to work. The world semi is used because this tool can integrate with any Ardupilot SITL  regardless of its engine, and read vehicles location and plot it in a 3D environment. So all physics and logic computation are performed by SITL. However, one can add 3D objects and some physics using moderate developing effort. The tool can also track multiple drones given each drone has its own SYSID_THISMAV

 

Below is the famouse flying field in Australia where SITL flies there by default. As we can see the map is displayed in 3D, and from multiple views. A camera is attached to drone and can be controlled via buttons. Another camera is following the drone.

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The above map uses flat landscape, i.e. the map is created on a 2D Plan, but the environement is a 3D environment.

The below image shows one step forward, it creates 3D mesh of the map and adjust drone absolute altitude accordingly based on drone home location.

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This project is in its very early stage, it is free and open-source and can be accessed here. I hope people start to use and contribute to it.

 

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To simulate the practical applications of Sky Fury VTOL, such as mapping, search, rescue, or surveillance. YANGDA made one testing and recorded the whole flight.

Test records:
* Battery: 2x Tattu 25000mAh 6S1P lipo batteries
* Payload: 1.2KG iron block
* Weather: Cloudy to light raining
* Flight mode: Auto at 300m radius
* Voltage when take-off: 52v
* Voltage when landed: 44. 1v
* Flight time: 202minutes
  
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The threat from physical intrusion still remains one of the top concerns in both commercial and non-commercial contexts. According to a report from Markets and Markets, the video surveillance market, which includes both hardware and software, is presently at USD 45.5 billion and expected to reach USD 74.6 billion by 2025.

Over the years, there have been many advancements in optics and detection systems but limitations still exist in the conventional ways of using them. To overcome these limitations, security stakeholders are now incorporating drone technology in their operations.

In this blog, we will talk about drones and the FlytNow solution for perimeter security.

What is perimeter security?

automated perimeter security

Perimeter security is an active barrier or fortification around a defined area to prevent all forms of intrusion. Modern security systems are an amalgamation of sophisticated hardware and software that generally include cameras, motion sensors, electric fencing, high-intensity lights, and a command center to manage them all. 

Challenges with conventional security systems (without drones) for perimeter security

Below are some of the drawbacks and limitations that are inherent in a conventional security system:

  • CCTV cameras and motion detectors are stationary, thus leaving plenty of room for blind spots.
  • Patrolling requires human guards - for larger areas, this is the least efficient way of securing a premise.
  • Response to an intrusion is delayed since a human responder has to reach the location.

Benefits of using drones for perimeter security

Drones have the following advantages over a conventional security system:

  • Drones are mobile flying machines that can go to any location quickly, with HD camera(s), thus eliminating blind spots.
  • Drones can also be equipped with a thermal camera(s) which are useful during nighttime surveillance.
  • Drones can be automated for patrolling using the FlytNow cloud-connected solution and commercially available DiaB (Drone in a Box) hardware.

Note: A DiaB is box-like hardware that houses one or more drones. The hardware keeps the drone flight-ready (24x7) and also automates the launching and docking processes of a drone.

Drones automation for security

For perimeter security, drones are generally used in conjunction with Drone-in-a-Box hardware and a fleet management system that powers the command center. Other security system hardware, including CCTV cameras, motion sensors, etc. can complement the drones and can be connected to the command center, thus integrating into a complete system. In a real-life scenario, such a system might work in the following way:

Drone Command Center

  • An intrusion is detected by one of the CCTV cameras in an area under surveillance. 
  • The command center receives the alert and initiates a drone launch. 
  • A connected DiaB receives the launch request and releases a drone. 
  • The drone flies to the location where the intrusion was detected and begins streaming a live video feed. 
  • An operator maneuvers the drone to cover all blind spots.
  • On finding the intruder, the operator has the option to warn him/her about the transgression using the drone’s onboard payload such as a beacon, spotlight, speaker, etc.

To know about the kind of drones and sensors that can be used for security and surveillance operations please refer to our Drone Surveillance System: The Complete Setup Guide.

How FlytNow enabled perimeter security?

FlytNow is a cloud-based application that helps in managing and controlling a fleet of drones from a unified dashboard through automation, live data streaming and integration. In the context of perimeter security, this translates into a command center that connects drones with the traditional components of a perimeter security system.

6 Reasons to use FlytNow for perimeter security

#1 Easy Setup: FlytNow is cloud-hosted i.e. a user can access the application from any standard web browser, without any complicated server setup. Connecting the drones with the system is also easy and is done using FlytOS.

#2 Unified Dashboard: FlytNow features an advanced dashboard that shows the following:

  1. A live map showing the real-time location of all the drones. The map can be customized to show points of interest, and virtual geofence, and CCTV zones.
  2. On-screen GUI controllers and keyboard & mouse support to control a drone. This allows an operator to easily maneuver a drone to a point of interest from the command center.
  3. Multicam support that allows streaming video feeds from more than one drone.
  4. Different view modes that allow an operator to switch between RGB and thermal mode. In the thermal mode, there is the option to switch between different color pallets, allowing a user to identify warm objects against different backdrops.
  5. Pre-flight checklist which is a list of checks the system prompts an operator to perform before initiating a drone launch.

#3 Live Data Sharing: An operator can share the live video feed from a drone directly from the dashboard. The feature can be used to share video with the police or other remote stakeholders.

Using Drones for Perimeter Security

#4 Advanced Automation: Operating drones through manual control is quite an inefficient way to use drones. Instead, automation should be employed to perform activities like security patrols. FlytNow comes with an advanced mission planner that allows a user to define a path for a drone to follow and save it as a mission. The mission can be executed periodically, thus making a fleet of drones perform automated patrolling.

FlytNow for perimeter security

#5 Add-on Modules: FlytNow provides add-ons to make a drone intelligent; this includes precision landing over a computer-generated tag, obstacle detection, and object identification. These add-ons enable a drone to autonomously fly to a location, identify a threat, and return to the DiaB hardware.

#6 Drone-in-a-Box Hardware Support: The functions of DiaB hardware, in the context of perimeter security, can be broadly classified into four categories:

  1. Securely house a drone.
  2. Keeping the drone fully charged all the time.
  3. Initiate a drone launch.
  4. Successfully dock a returning drone.

Summary

In this blog, we discussed the concept of perimeter security, the limitations of conventional security set up, and how these limitations can be overcome using drones. Then we covered how drones are actually used for aerial patrols and 6 reasons why FlytNow is an ideal solution for automating drones for perimeter security.

There are plenty more reasons to use FlytNow for perimeter security that you can find out by signing for our 28 days free trial.

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Wide-ranging interviews with chief executives of the major companies operating in the global agriculture robots and drones market, the primary research analysis concludes that the global agricultural robots and drones market to witness exponential growth of nearly 18.9% over the forecast period.
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Weed whacking robot

 

 

Took a while to remember who Helen Greiner is/was.  She was a founder of irobot.  She bounced around the quad copter startups when that was big, but now has landed at a weed whacker startup.  It has a simple string trimmer on the bottom which chops a weed, but it doesn't suck them into a vacuum bag.  Theoretically, chopping off the weed is enough to deal with the problem.

The problems is has to solve are getting around uneven dirt without falling over or getting stuck, differentiating plants from weeds.  It uses capacitive sensors to navigate around taller plants. Plants which impinge on the capacitive sensors cause it to turn.  

The string trimmer runs slowly to detect shorter plants.  Plants which are short enough to pass under the robot & impinge on the string trimmer are treated as weeds & cause the string trimmer to spin up.  There are ways to make it avoid short plants by erecting metal barriers.  It has to be waterproof.  There's no lidar.  It manages to generate all its power from a solar panel.  

Basically not much more than what a $50 toy used to do, but in the QE world now valued at $400.  It's the epitomy of a minimally viable product which they hope to bootstrap off of & improve upon.  For those of us without the $25 million for a back yard near a job market, the most useful part may be the traction system for navigating around dirt.  It's surprising those goofy diagonal wheels would make any difference.

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Because the DIY community asked for it. Here’s the new mRo Pixracer Pro with tons of functionalities.

4 years after the original mRo Pixracer was designed and proven mRobotics recognized the need to bring the design to the forefront of open source flight controllers.

With the mRo Pixracer Pro mRobotics maintained everything that the community loved about the original mRo Pixracer and improved every deficiency that was known. The resulting fight controller is destined to become the new goto flight controller for developers and a rock solid foundation for commercial and industrial systems.

Check out all the specs:

Main Processor: 32-bit STM32H743IIK6 Cortex M7 RISC core with FPU 460 MHz
IO Processor: No
RAM: 1024 KB RAM
Flash: 2 MB FRAM
Crypto / Hash Processor: No
Accelerometers / Gyros / Mags: Yes
Sensors:
Invensense/TDK ICM-20602 (6DOF)
Invensense/TDK ICM-20948 (9DOF)

Sensors - Dampened: Bosch BMI088 (6DOF) (internally vibration dampened)
Internal Magnetometer: AK09916 inside ICM-20948
B arometric Pressure Sensor: DPS310
Interfaces and Protocols

6x UART (serial ports) [2x with HW flow control,1x FRSky Telemetry (D or X types), 2x General Purpose & 1x GPS+I2C].
1x PPM sum input signal
8x PWM outputs (all DShot capable)
1x RSSI (PWM or voltage) input
1x I2C
1x SPI
2x CAN
1x JTAG (TC2030 Connector)
3x Ultra low noise LDO voltage regulator
Supported RC input protocols:
Spektrum DSM / DSM2 / DSM-X® Satellite compatible input and binding.
Futaba S.BUS® & S.BUS2® compatible input.
FRSky Telemetry port output.
Graupner SUMD.Yuneec ST24.

Connectors

-JST GH
-External USB-C

Pin Headers: Yes - 8 Servo
Conformal Coating: No
Extended Testing and Burn In: No
Custom Carrier Board Support: No
LED: Yes (Tricolor)
Dimensions: Width: 36mm (1.42”) / Length: 36mm (1.42”)
Weight: 11.56g (.40 oz)
Mounting Holes: 4mm holes at 31.5mm spacing, Silicone grommets for m3 screws
Protector Case: No

[Quality] and Typical Platforms [High-End]
-Multirotor
-Rover
-Fixed-Wing
-Boats
-Submarines
-VTOL
-Automatic Tractors
-Others

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BatMon is a module that connects to you batteries to "smartify" them. BatMon reads the cell voltage, current and relays it to autopilot or the onboard computers. We made a quite a bit of improvements in the latest v3 devkit. The most important is the support for 3 different protocols :

  • SMBUS(I2C based two wire protocol)
  • CAN (CAN based differential two wire protocol) 
  • LIN (a robust single wire data communication protocol invented for automotive application)

SMBUS is currently supported in the stock firmware. We have added support for Ardupilot, Pixhawk and Raspberry Pi (ROS) environment. 

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The features of Batmon are: 

  1. Inbuilt Coulomb counting for accurate power draw (and State-Of-Charge) for the pack
  2. Accurate monitoring of individual cell voltage ( precise to 50mV ) 
  3. Onboard temperature monitoring + extra optional temperature probes for accurate measurement of battery temperature in harsh weather.
  4. Stock firmware connects to Pixhawk, Ardupilot, Raspberry Pi (ROS) 
  5. Onboard cell balancing
  6. Switchable low-power LED indicators display for convenient display of battery SOC
  7. Optional OLED display and warning buzzer
  8. Optional safety cutoff FET

The first batch of boards are available for pre-order till Oct 31 here: https://rotoye.com/batmon/

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How Drones are Useful in Forest Fire Response

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are already in use for controlling fires in urban areas and places where people reside. These UAVs are usually quadcopters that are quite effective in hovering in one place.

In the event of a fire, the primary objective of using drones is to gather situational awareness, which can be used to direct the efforts of the firefighters in locating and controlling hot spots.

Just like urban fires, forest fires too require monitoring so that firefighters know what they are dealing with.

Forest fires are different from urban fires; they are hard to control (sometimes cannot be controlled) and pose a greater threat to people and property. Here, drones can play a crucial role in detecting, containing, and extinguishing forest fires.

One example of drones to combat forest fires is that of California National Guards, who are using MQ-9 Reaper (military reconnaissance drones) to assist emergency responders in controlling forest fires. They have already provided crucial assistance in massive forest fires, which include Mendocino Complex Fire and Carr Fire.

Before we dive into how drones are used in this context, it is important to understand why they are used.

Why Drones are Used in Controlling Forest Fires?


In the event of a forest fire, time is of the essence. This is why it makes sense to use a drone for two primary purposes: initial detection and initial rescue. Here is a further breakdown:

  • Drones can quickly be airborne, fly to a location, map the area affected by the fire, and share the information to all relevant agencies within a couple of minutes.
  • A drone can carry a whole range of sensors, including a thermal camera that supports multiple color pallets. The combination of all these sensors provides a better picture of the spread and speed of the fire, which can help civil authorities to come up with a relief plan.

How Are Drones Used in Forest Fires?


Drones are useful especially in forest fires that are difficult to control. They are primarily used for collecting information and during post-incident recovery. Their usage can be explained as follows:

Information gathering: During a forest fire it is important for firefighters to know whether they are hitting the hot spots, which is difficult and dangerous for the ground crew since such fires tend to spread over a large area.

Here drones carrying a thermal camera can do the job much more efficiently. A pilot flying a drone can cover a large area and identify hot spots using the thermal camera. Thermal cameras like DJI Zenmuse XT offer multiple color palettes that can precisely identify hot and cold zones giving a better idea of the kind of temperatures the responders are dealing with.

Learn how DEEP (The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection) has been using drones to combat forest fires.


Aid and protection: Fighting any kind of fire is an occupational hazard for firefighters. But forest fires can move in any direction depending on the wind. This means a firefighter on the ground fighting a forest fire without the knowledge of the spread can easily get trapped.

The footage captured by a drone can provide insights about the spread and direction of the fire. This information can protect firefighters from going too close to the inferno.

Terrain Mapping: Footage captured from a drone can be converted into a 3D map allowing civil authorities to ascertain the extent of the damage. This information is useful during post-incident relief work and for insurance companies to verify damage claims.

Real-time Awareness: Any kind of relief work requires resources, and for that situational awareness is required for planning. In 2018, wildfire threatened the town of Hechingen, Germany, which was facing severe drought and the water level dropped below 50%.

The fire department of Hechingen was called in to control the blaze. The fire was close to a remote country road far away from water sources and covered an area close to 5000 square meters. DJI M210 drones, with Zenmuse XT and X4S cameras, were put to the test and flown over the area to gather intelligence. Aerial imagery showed the firefighters the hot spots and the spread of the fire; accordingly, they planned to carry water, in fire engines, to the spot and control the blaze.

Thus, drones played an important role in providing intelligence for decision making.

How FlytNow Enhances the Capabilities of Drones Fighting Forest Fires


FlytNow is a cloud-based fleet management solution that provides a unified dashboard for managing a fleet of drones. The dashboard provides access to drone-mission planning, live telemetry, and video streams from all connected drones over a 4G/LTE/5G network. Below is an illustration of how the solution works.

How Drones are Connected to FlytNow?


FlytNow supports a wide variety of drones including the popular DJI Mavic and Matrice series of drones.

Connecting a DJI drone is extremely simple; download and install the FlytOS mobile app and connect the mobile with the RC of the drone. The mobile application acts as a relay between the drone and the cloud application. Live telemetry and the video feed are sent to the FlytNow cloud server over the mobile network.

Custom drones also work with FlytNow by leveraging a single board computer (SBC). An SBC with the operating system is connected to the flight controller of the drone, which communicates with FlytNow either through Wifi or a GSM module.

Establishing a Localized Command Center Using FlytNow Business


FlytNow Business is a standard offering that comes with out of the box features. This solution is ideal for setting up a localized command center to manage drones working to bring a forest fire under control.

A forest fire can burn for days before it’s brought under control, so it becomes important for fire officials to stay close to the situation and monitor it. Following are the features that would allow firefighters to set up a command center and some ways they can be used:

  • FlytNow Business can be accessed from a web browser. A firefighter with a laptop or a tablet can log in to the FlytNow dashboard and see the statuses of all connected drones. Like a command center, he/she can manage and control all drones from a single dashboard.


FlytNow for drone forest fire

  • FlytNow Business comes with an advanced mission planner that allows for setting up a flight path for a drone. Using the mission planner, a fire official can program a drone to fly over a defined perimeter and map it in order to understand the spread of the fire.
  • It can stream live video and telemetry from all connected drones. Using this feature, a fire official can see the video feeds (at ultra-low latency) from all connected drones on the dashboard and even share them with various agencies either via email or using the built-in team management. This would allow for better coordination among different agencies.


fire fighting response team

  • The dashboard supports multiple views for different kinds of operations. For example, in a search and rescue operation, an operator can switch to the IR view to detect the heat signature of people trapped by the fire.


Drones wildfire response

In the case of DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual and Matrice 210 V2 Dual, the dashboard supports MSX, which generates high contrast thermal images with lines and edges, and multiple color palettes including isotherms. Using the color palettes, a firefighter can identify hot and cold regions, which can aid in the identification of hot spots.

Early detection of forest fires

  • FlytNow Business can be integrated with cloud servers like AWS S3 for the storage of video captured during firefighting operations. These videos can later be used for training purposes.

Establishing an Automated Drone Based Response System Using FlytNow Enterprise


FlytNow Enterprise is a customizable offering that includes all the features of the Business version plus additional features. It can be used to set up a fully automated response system that can be integrated with ground-based hardware (Drone-in-a-Box and charging pads) and computer-aided dispatch systems like 911. A system like this would function in the following way.

drones for fighting forest fires

  • An emergency operator receives a forest fire alert through the computer-aided dispatch system.
  • The alert is routed to the nearby fire stations. A fire official logs in to the FlytNow dashboard and selects the alert, which pinpoints the fire’s location.
  • The firefighter requests a drone recon over the area. The response system (powered by FlytNow Enterprise) automatically creates a mission and selects a nearby drone station ( Drone-in-a-Box hardware). FlytNow Enterprise supports all popular Drone-in-a-Box hardware.
  • The drone receives the command and flies off autonomously. FlytNow Enterprise supports integration with UTM service providers like Airmap for airspace intelligence to support BVLOS flights.
  • On reaching the location, the drone starts recording and sends out a live video feed for the firefighter to see.
  • A firefighter has the option to use AI features like object detection to identify certain ground objects, for example, a hotspot.
  • The drone continues the mission until its battery becomes low. It goes back to the station and lands on the DiaB hardware using the precision landing feature by FlytNow Enterprise. The solution makes it safe for the drone to fly autonomously with advanced failsafe that allows a drone to do an emergency landing in case of a hardware failure.

Summary


In this blog, we understood the importance of drones and how they are used in controlling forest fires. We discussed in detail the challenges that drones allow firefighters to overcome, and how FlytNow as a solution enhances the capabilities of drones.

You can implement FlytNow today with our 28 days free trial and see yourself how FlytNow can enhance your workflow with drones. Making the justification of using drones even stronger.

Source:https://flytnow.com/drones-in-forest-fire-response/

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FREEWING F-86 EDF REVIEW

Buds F-86 low pass crop

 I’ve never owned an electric ducted fan (EDF) airplane. I like to watch turbine models fly because they are fast and the sound is awesome. If money were no object I’d probably own a couple of them. The smell of kerosene takes me back to my days in the Air Force. The problem with turbines is the cost and field requirements. There are some kits out there that are more than capable of grass field operation but you better be good to your retracts and able to manage a short approach over the trees on the north end of the field when the wind commands it.

EDF’s on the other hand are very affordable, but most sound like an electric leave blower. There are a lot of bad kits, poor designs, weak gear and low performance options out there. Taking off from the grass needs good performance and stout landing gear. Some of the better performers use fixed gear to save weight and provide landing gear that can take the bashing a grass take off and landing deals out. There are hand launch and bungie launch-able kits, but they are small and not as cool as something that has retracts and size. I’ve seen plenty of these at the field over the years. Some run up and down the field without achieving take off speed. Others offer very short flight time and require a launcher for the bungy or trade fixed gear for speed.

What I was looking for was a plane that could take off from our field, had retracts and sounded like a turbine. I wanted to get 5 minute flight times and be able to use my existing LiPo batteries to power it. It needed to have reasonable wing loading because I have been known to fly pretty low and tight.

The search was on! Right away it became clear that Freewing seemed to offer the best quality in EDF kits. I started to look for suppliers carrying that brand. After my bad experience with the HK C-47 I wanted somebody that stood by their products with fast support. it has developed a good reputation over the years and is a Freewing dealer. Their prices are reasonable and shipping is free on orders over $99.

I started looking at the battery requirements. Since I fly 550 and 700 sized heli’s I have an abundance of 6s 5000mAh packs. My other packs are either 3S or sub 3000mAh 4s.  It quickly became clear that I was going to need to look at a plane with a EDF unit in the 80-90mm range. This narrowed the selection significantly. 

Now the search was focused on the landing gear. Big LiPo’s add mass and retracts on a grass field equal stress on the gear. All the pretty scale jets with tiny nose wheels were quickly dropped from my list. Those wheels were far more likely to dig into the ruts, bumps and clumps on our field. This was confirmed in the reviews I read. The sport jets available with bigger wheels looked good, but had short flight times of around 3.5 minutes caused by the 90mm fans pushing them around. Thats the price of EDF speed. The search moved to scale jets of the '40s '50s and ‘60s. These jets had less intricate landing gear designs and bigger wheels because of the technology of the day. In addition early jets had relatively low power so they usually had more wing area which would slow the plane, but would provide longer flight times.

I read all the reviews on the sellers site and then moved over to RC Groups for the planes I was interested in. It came down to the Freewing ME-262 70mm twin or the Freewing F-86 80mm. Both are popular kits and landing gear is known to be good quality and relatively tough. The ME-262 was more than happy to accept the 6S 5000mAh batteries I have. The F-86 was designed around 6S 3700mAh to 4500mAh batteries. Hummm looks Like I either buy batteries or the ME-262. As I read about the 262 I started seeing some issues with the forward fuselage strength and ESC failures. I looked at how close the engine pods are to the ground and started considering flight time of one 5000mAh battery powering two 70mm fans.

I dug further into the F-86 thread on RCG and discovered that while not designed for it quite a few people had opted to use 5000mAh batteries with very little modification. It really depends on the pack you use since their dimensions vary quite a bit. As I read further it was more and more common. With throttle management people were getting 5 minute flight times which was one of my criteria.  It became clear that both planes would be a pain to assemble the wings to the fuselage at the field because of the short and abundant servo, ESC and throttle leads.  The 262 has a 60” wing span while the F-86 is closer to 48”. Clearly another criteria I needed to consider was size and transportability. I could get either in my car, but the ME-262 was going to be tight when you consider I usually take several aircraft to fly and my wife also packs along at least one heli and plane to fly.

I started to do some YouTube research next to see how the two planes appeared to fly and what kind of fields people were using them on. There are also a number of video reviews and unboxings to see what to expect in the way of packing and kit quality. Generally the planes looked great and both were flown off of grass fields. The 262 is pretty fast while the F-86 looked scale in flight.

This is where the scale started leaning heavily in the F-86 favor. The SOUND! While the ME-262 was a twin it still had the normal EDF leaf blower sound generated by its 6 blade fans. The F-86Its hard to believe but with the combination of 12 blade fan, scale sized nose air intake coupled with a louvered cheater air inlet in the bottom of the fuselage it sounds VERY much like a turbine in flight. The more I heard it the more I was sure this was the plane I would buy. 

With the model decision made for the F-86 I read up on issues people were having with the kit. The biggest issues were main gear tearing out due to insufficient glue holding them and a CG issue. The bigger problem was the nose heavy CG when setup using the instructions 165mm recommendation. People were saying that it took a very long take off run even with flaps to get airborne (beating the poor landing gear to death no doubt) and all the elevator they could give it to rotate for lift off at the end of the long take off run. Some were convinced it was an issue with the incidence in the elevator as people were maxing out the elevator throws and requiring a ton of nose up trim. They had to make fast landings in order to retain enough elevator authority to flare. It turns out the issue was all about an incorrect CG recommendation in the instructions. The Freewing F-86 is happy with a CG point of 190 to 200mm as measured from the lead edge of the wing root. With this CG range the plane lifts off relatively quickly with flaps and has no need for elevator trim or excessive speed on landings.

I ordered theF-86 from www.freewing-model.com.com  You can get it as a kit or PNP. Mine was the PNP version. It needs only a receiver and battery pack to fly. I ordered on a Monday morning and the plane was at my door via UPS Thursday afternoon. No box damage was noted and it was double boxed. The packing was extremely good. The planes condition and paint were both excellent. The level of detail in the planes markings and decals is amazing for a foamy! All control surfaces were already connected to their servos.

The only assembly is to glue the aft section to the front section of the fuselage using the glue provided with the kit, screw on the elevator and rudder assemblies with 4 screws, put the two wing halves together with a carbon tube for support and attach the wing to the fuselage with 4 screws. The biggest deal in this is connecting all the servo leads at the tail and wing to fuselage. Take your time doing this as the slack is short in the leads and you don’t want to take it apart to re-accomplish this if you get a wire crossed. It is highly recommended that you check all the servos and gear for proper operation BEFORE starting assembly. This ensures that the servo wires are properly labeled so you don’t get something like a flap moving when you move an aileron. In my case everything was labeled correctly and worked fine. The finished plane looks VERY scale.

Because I was running bigger than normal batteries I had to do a couple of minor modifications to get them to fit under the canopy hatch.  The first thing was relocate the ESC and battery. In order to get the CG to the 190mm point I had to move the ESC from its stock location to the rearmost point under the hatch area. There is a clear plastic cover that can be opened up in this area to permit air going to the fan to help cool the ESC. I cut a hole in the clear plastic and then hot glued the ESC there. Next I had to relieve the cockpit floor in the hatch to the point that it was paper thin in the area under the pilot figure plus cut a hole in the area in front of the pilot figure to make room for the batteries wires to clear. Once I had removed enough foam I reinforced the section I had relieved with thinned 5 minute epoxy. Others have had to do nothing more than move the ESC to get the battery in the right position. It really depends on the battery you are using. I also decided to glue a scrap piece of foam in front of the battery to keep it from shifting in flight. I would normally use velcro for this, but because space over the battery was tight I had to go this route. The kits packing had some pieces that were perfect for the job.

More info: http://www.freewing-model.com

 

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When we think about commercial drones, we mainly see them as a tool for aerial inspection and monitoring, since a lot of applications happen in this context. According to phillybyair.com, the construction industry was the largest user of drones, in terms of usage, in 2019, which further strengthens the perception of widespread use by this industry. 

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the commercial drone ecosystem; we are now witnessing a rapid adoption of drones by various government agencies across the world for public safety use cases. For instance, during the global pandemic lockdown, police officials in the state of Gujarat, India created the country’s first drone command center from where a fleet of drones was managed to monitor the streets of the city of Ahmedabad; read the full case study

If we dig deeper into the use of drones for public safety, there is one use case that is not often talked about, drones for highway patrolling. No! You won’t be getting a speeding ticket from a drone any time soon. But what drones can do is to act as first responders in emergency situations happening on highways. Clearly, drones aren’t meant to catch criminals and speeding vehicles, they are more like eyes-in-the-sky that provide situational awareness when something goes wrong. 

Why Use Drones for Highway Patrolling


With regards to highway patrolling, drones provide the following advantages:

  • A drone can reach a location much faster compared to ground-based vehicles, which is why they are ideal for the role of first responders. 
  • In situations like wildfires or avalanches, where roads get blocked, drones can be sent to assess the situation and identify people who are in distress.
  • Drones can help optimize the resources to be deployed for emergency response, by providing crucial first-hand information on a fast-evolving situation to human first responders (police, fire, and paramedic). 
  • Drones can carry a variety of payloads, such as Automated External Defibrillators. A drone carrying an AED can save lives by rapidly reaching someone having a cardiac arrest in remote areas.

Instances of Drones Used for Patrolling


Save people from avalanches: Drones are actively being used in mountainous areas for patrolling ski paths and participating in search and rescue missions, in case of an avalanche.

Drones Used for Patrolling

According to BBC, 90% of avalanche victims survive if rescued within the first 15 minutes, but the odds of surviving drops to 20% after 45 minutes. Thus, the rapid response abilities of drones become ideal for such situations.

In the Czech Republic, there is a nationwide agency called the Mountain Rescue Service of the Czech Republic that actively participates in rescuing people trapped by an avalanche. They rely on a response system based on a network of drones. When an avalanche strikes, mobile vehicles carrying drones go to the affected area and deploy the drones. The drones carry a transceiver to hone into a particular frequency that skiers transmit. In this way, skiers trapped in snow are quickly located and saved. 

Analyze crash sites: Iowa State Patrol has deployed drones to investigate crash sites on highways. Drones equipped with a high-resolution camera can be used to render 3D images and recreate accident sites for investigators. The state patrol is using this technology only for investigating accidents, not to monitor traffic violations.

Drones for Highway patrolling

How FlytNow can Power a Drone Response System for Highway Patrolling


FlytNow is a cloud-based application that offers a web dashboard to manage a fleet of drones. The dashboard has an integrated map that allows live tracking of all connected drones; it also has widgets to control the drones along with their payloads. 

FlytNow comes in two main versions (FlytNow Business and FlytNow Enterprise) for commercial users. 

How Drones are Connected to FlytNow?


FlytNow supports both DJI and custom drones. DJI drones are connected using the FlytOS mobile app. The app connects with the Remote Controller (RC) and establishes a connection with the web application. 

When connecting custom drones based on PX4 and Ardupilot or DJI enterprise drones, a single board computer (SBC) is required; this could be a Raspberry Pi 3b+/4, Odroid N2, DJI Manifold 2, Nvidia Jetson Nano / TX2, etc. that is loaded with the FlytOS operating system and connected with the autopilot of the drone. The SBC allows the drones to communicate with FlytNow and receive instructions over the cloud.

FlytNow Business for Remote Patrolling


FlytNow is a standard offering that provides out of the box features to manage drones remotely. It is ideal for localized response systems that rely on both remote viewing capabilities and the support from local pilots. Here are some of the features that help police officials:

  • FlytNow has a standard web-based dashboard to manage all connected drones. It has panels to monitor the live telemetry data of each drone and the live video feed coming from the drones. An officer having access to the dashboard can inspect an emergency situation remotely, and guide the personnel present at the scene. In the case of a DJI drone, an officer close to a scene might use the mobile app to share the footage with remote officers or an expert.


flytnow getting started

  • FlytNow Business offers integration with a private cloud server to store videos captured by the drones. Police officials can use this feature to maintain a video record of every incident captured by the drones, which might prove to be useful in future investigations.


Drone Response System

  • This version supports the remote control of a variety of payloads, including payloads offered by DJI. Among the supported payloads include a thermal camera, spotlight, and loudspeaker. Such payloads are useful in special circumstances like night time search and rescue missions where time is a critical element.


FlytNow Enterprise


The FlytNow Enterprise version includes everything that the Business version has, plus additional features and the option of customization. This offering is ideal for establishing a full-fledged emergency or disaster response system that includes a network of Drone-in-a-Box installations, multi-user access, and integration with services like 911. Below is an illustration of how a system like this might work:

drone response system

Understanding a drone-based response system using FlytNow Enterprise for highway Patrolling


Here we will explore how a drone-based highway response system might work using a hypothetical situation.  

  • At hour 21:00 on route 66, a tanker collides with a truck and catches fire. A nearby witness calls 911.


drone monitoring of a road accident

  • An emergency operator receives the request and triggers an alert. The alert is then routed to nearby state troopers and the fire service.


drone response center

  • As fire engines are prepared for dispatch, a fire serviceman opens the FlytNow dashboard and selects the fire alert (made possible through integration with 911), which puts a pin on the map.


drone station

  • The fireman requests drone coverage for the scene. Since FlytNow is integrated with a network of drone stations, powered by Drone-in-a-Box (DiaB) hardware, a mission is created automatically and a nearby drone is selected for the task.
  • On receiving the command (over the internet), a drone automatically takes off from a DiaB and flies towards the location. FlytNow automatically selects an optimal path for the drone, taking into consideration airspace norms, by leveraging UTM services like Airmap.


road accident

  • On reaching the location, the drone begins a live-video stream of the incident, providing crucial situational awareness to the firefighters. The stream is broadcasted (the drone maintains communication with FlytNow over 4G/LTE/5G network) to nearby state troopers.
  • A state trooper with special privileges takes secure control of the drone’s camera and initiates a thermal scan to identify victims. The object detection capability of FlytNow allows the drone to identify crash victims. The trooper passes the information to the paramedics.
  • When the battery of the drone becomes low, the drone automatically returns to the DiaB to recharge and stay ready for the next mission.

     

Summary


In this blog, we discussed the fast-evolving adoption of drones in public safety operations, especially highway patrolling. We touched upon the utility of drones in patrolling operations and specific instances where drones have saved lives.

We then discussed how FlytNow, as a solution, enables emergency responders to build a system where drones can autonomously go to an emergency situation and provide situational awareness.

If you or your police department is interested in such a drone system, then try our 28 days free trial of FlytNow Pro. This version allows you to immediately demonstrate the power of drones for public safety.

Or contact us at https://flytnow.com/contact/ for the Business or Enterprise version.

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T-Drones M1200

Hello anybody here.

Today i would like to introduce one type drones M1200. This is an almost perfect drone for industrial filed.

One of the biggest feature is ultra-light. Please refer to the picture as below:

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T-Drones has been cooperating with T-Motor all the time. We use T-Motor power system, so the quality is surely great.

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The biggest advantage is long-endurance flight time.

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No worry about your environment when you use T-Drones M1200

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Are you interested in M1200? If you want to know more types of T-Drones, feel free to contact me.

Email:bella@tmotor.com

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A Cool Guy T-Drones(T-Motor)

Hello,

It is a pleasure to meet you here.

I am from T-Drones team. Which is dedicated to manufacturing drones in the industrial field.

We can provide professional R&D, production and OEM service.

What's more, T-Drones had been cooperating with T-Motor all the time.The quality is surely great.

T-drones focuses on long-endurance flights. The main features: light weight, small size, and large battery capacity. Which can be applicated for cruise, survey,mapping etc.

If anybody is interested in T-Drones or wants to know more, feel free to contact me.

Email:bella@tmotor.com

Skype:bella@tmotor.com

 

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If you are looking for the hardware to diy a drone by your own?

If you find it's hard to get the drone parts with competitive cost?

If you are looking for a drone with light weight and long endurance?

T-Drones is here happy to offer the solutions.

T-Drones M690A 0.5-1kg payload, 60-70mins flight time by battery;
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Drones are eyes in the sky for firefighters. They can serve as an essential firefighting tool for people in the fire services, especially in and around urban centers, where a deadly inferno might occur in a highrise building. 

Drone for fire fighting can equip fire officials with the latest technology, and add complementary capabilities to the existing resources such as fire trucks, ladders, specialized suits, etc. Firefighters can now acquire aerial information in a quick, cost-effective manner. 

In 2016, a tragic fire broke out in a warehouse in Oakland, California. The warehouse had been converted into a living space called Ghost Ship. The fire, which claimed the lives of 36 people, is one of the deadliest in the history of Oakland. Drones, equipped with a thermal camera, were used by firefighters to identify hotspots and search the unsafe-building after the fire was extinguished.

The effectiveness of drones is rapidly catching on, as agencies around the world begin to adopt this technology. In the US, more than 900 state and local agencies related to the emergency services are using drones one way or another; out of them, approximately, 186 is believed to be related to fire and emergency medical services.

Can Drones (UAVs) Put Out a Fire?


This is a common question that people often ask. A short answer is No, drones are more useful in acquiring situational awareness about the fire and its surroundings. Firefighters can use this information to control the fire and ultimately put it off. However, there are a few companies that are equipping drones with water hoses or fire extinguishing materials.

How Are Drones Used During Firefighting?


How Are Drones Used During FirefightingSituational awareness: In a typical scenario where a fire has broken out in a building, firefighters arrive at the spot and begin their operation with limited information about the extent of the fire and damage it has caused to the structure. 

Instead, with a fleet of drones, firefighters can begin with an aerial assessment of the scene and know the extent of the fire before starting their rescue operation.

Reach difficult places: Drones are efficient in going to tight spaces since they are nimble and agile, and deploying them first avoidings putting humans in unsafe situations.

Thermal assessment: In a firefighting situation,  firefighters work against the clock to save the lives and integrity of the structure. That is why it is important to direct their efforts towards the source of a fire.  Drones equipped with a thermal camera can assist firefighters to identify hotspots inside a blazing structure. Accordingly, firefighters can direct their efforts to bring the situation under control. 

Search and rescue:  Firefighters are actively involved in search and rescue missions. A thermal camera drone can do the job of 100 people by scanning a large area and identifying people in distress. During a natural calamity like an earthquake, thermal camera drones can fly over fallen structures and identify trapped individuals, and even identify dangerous leakages.

What Kind of Drones and Payloads are Commonly Used During Firefighting?


Drones come in all shapes and sizes, but not all of them are suitable for firefighting operations. The more suitable ones are off-the-shelf drones from the likes of DJI and custom drones based on open source stacks mainly PX4 and Ardupilot. Here are some of the drones that are considered fit for such kind of tasks:


Drones are not usable without the appropriate payloads. For firefighting purposes, these are some common payloads that are used:

  • Zenmuse XT2 (a thermal camera for DJI drones) 
  • Zenmuse Z30 (a normal camera with 30x zoom for DJI drones)
  • Zenmuse H20 (A hybrid camera that combines a wide-angle camera, 23x optical zoom camera, thermal camera, and laser rangefinder for DJI drones)

How FlytNow Can Make Drone Operations a Lot Smarter for the Firefighters

Traditional Challenges in Using Drones for Firefighting


The conventional way of using drones, during firefighting, is a pilot controlling a drone using the remote controller (RC). Here, the pilot becomes the relay point of all the information collected by the drone. This method of using drones may be simple, but is not very effective, since multiple pilots are required to control multiple drones. On top of the human resource requirement, there are several other disadvantages, as follows:

  • It becomes difficult for a drone pilot to share the data with different agencies and ground personnel, which hinders coordination.
  • Difficult to archive flight data, which makes it problematic for the future analysis of an emergency situation.
  • Data collected from multiple drones cannot be stitched together for better situational awareness. 
  • Sharing live data becomes difficult, more so when multiple drones are involved. 
  • Drone response can’t be automated since they can’t be integrated with emergency response systems like the 911 operations centers.

How FlytNow Helps in Overcoming the Traditional Challenges


FlytNow is a fleet management system that helps public safety officials to overcome challenges in using drones for firefighting. 

FlytNow is a cloud-based application that provides a unified dashboard to control a fleet of drones. It has two versions (Business and Enterprise) that cater to two different use cases.

drones for public safetyHow Drones are Connected to the FlytNow Cloud Application


FlytNow is a hardware-agnostic cloud platform meaning it supports different kinds of drones. Users using DJI drones can use the FlytOS mobile app to connect the drones to the cloud application. 

In the case of custom drones, a single board computer loaded with the FlytOS operating system can be attached to the flight controller of the drone, to facilitate communication with the FlytNow application over a 4G/LTE/5G network.

flytcloud

FlytNow Business


FlytNow Business is a standard offering that provides out of the box features in the form of SaaS (Software as a Service). This version is useful in establishing a quick command center, locally, for a particular response to manage the drones in operation. 

Some of the unique features and benefits that it provides are as follows:

  • It provides a web-based dashboard with an integrated map to control a fleet of drones. Using this feature, a single operator can control the movement of multiple drones, thus saving cost and time.drone firefighting operation
  • The dashboard offers live telemetry and visual data from all connected drones, with dual control from both the RC and the web dashboard. This allows for coordinated drone operations where data from multiple drones can be stitched together and shared for better situational awareness. firefighters using drone
  • The Business edition has out of the box support for live video-streaming from multiple drones that can be shared with anyone using their email address.flytnow for remote firefighting operations
  • A viewer can switch between ‘normal’ view (RBG) and ‘thermal’ view (IR) if the drone is equipped with an IR sensor. In the case of DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual and DJI M210 V2 Dual, the FlytNow dashboard provides the MSX view that shows the lines and edges, along with the contrast, to differentiate between regions with different temperatures.using thermal camera with drone
  • Along with MSX, FlytNow gives the option to switch between different color pallets like Rainbow, Hotspot, Gray, Isotherms, Hotmetal, and Coldspot for the M2E Dual.using drones for fire fighting
  • Thermal imaging allows firefighters to identify hot spots and see whether they are hitting the fire. In a post-fire situation,  a thermal drone can carry out an inspection of the outer facades of the building, and send the live footage using FlyNow to a structural engineer sitting hundreds of miles away for a better assessment.
  • The business version has out of the box support for DJI payloads (eg. Dual Camera, Spotlight, etc) for drones such as Mavic 2 Enterprise and the Matrice 200 series. These payloads are specially designed for emergency operations.drone payloads for fire fighting
  • Apart from DJI payloads, it supports remote control of the gimbal, on which the camera is attached, via the web dashboard. This allows a remote viewer to control the camera angle for a better visual.

FlytNow Enterprise


The Enterprise version adds customization and addons to the Business edition. This version is ideal for setting up a drone-based emergency response system with the following capabilities:

  • A system that is integrated with a dispatch system like the 911
  • Integration with a decentralized network of drone stations supported by Drone-in-a-Box hardware, which allows for automated dispatch of drones.
  • A unified dashboard that can be part of a command center, which allows for the control and management of the drones over 4G/LTE/5G. 


With respect to fire fighting, the Enterprise version offers advantages such as:

  • AI-based features like object detection to help identify people trapped under debris or lost in a forest.
  • The ability of public safety officials to maintain detailed flight-record of each and every drone flight, to comply with airspace norms. All these legal requirements and complexities are solved using FlytNow Enterprise’s native support for DroneLogbook (a flight data recording service) and Airmap (a UTM service). 
  • Support for custom maps, so that operators can adjust to the terrain over which drones are flying.

Summary


In this blog, we discussed the importance of drones for firefighting and how they can be used to save time, resources, and lives. We also touched upon the kind of drones and payloads used for fire fighting operations. Finally, we ended by showcasing the benefits that FlytNow provides by allowing the usage of drones at scale with data availability for proper coordination. 

If you (plan to) use drones for public safety, then FlytNow is the right software platform to allow you to leverage cloud technology for better management and transparency of your drone operations. You can get started with our 28 days of a free trial. You can also contact us at https://flytnow.com/contact/

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Hey guys,

Nimbus series planes have a new member: Nimbus Pro. It is a professional VTOL(vertical take-off and landing) fixed-wing plane for mapping, aerial survey, and inspection mission. It comes with four lift motors and one fixed-wing motor, which will allow the mapping VTOL to ascend like a helicopter. For the mapping mission, the fixed-wing motor will make the drone fly like a plane.

Fast deploy
Due to its modular airframe design, Nimbus Pro mapping VTOL can be set up in less than 5 minutes by a single man.

Long endurance
The Nimbus Pro survey drone can fly up to 100 minutes with a 6S 25000mAh lipo battery in a single flight.

Big inner space for payload
The mapping UAV comes with a big internal space to accommodate various mapping cameras and payload.

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