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Reverting to my childhood (drone flying)

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by webbie, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I developed an interest in some of the new Drones and FPV stuff. (camera laden flying machines)...

    Instead of doing more research, I figured I'd start at the bottom and got myself a AR Drone, which is somewhat of a toy, but amazing in terms of it's programming and mechanics. So far, I crashed it a bunch of times with no ill effects and also got it caught up 40 feet in a tree. It took some work to get it down - I tied a bunch of those driveway marking poles together and climbed up on a ladder and eventually poked it out of the branches......

    Here are some pics and a vid if your eyes can handle it - the camera quality is poor, but for about $210 this thing is a amazing piece of tech.....



    Screen shot 2012-11-14 at 10.16.43 AM.png
    pen likes this.

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  2. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    I saw a Scientific American episode with Alan Alda which had prototype drones with video technology. This goes back a few years, but there was one in particular that was the size of a piece of toast that gave really good video images. They were expecting to use them in battle situations for real-time footage. It was launched out of someones hand. Pretty amazing stuff.

    Western Ma, keep yer shades closed. ;)
  3. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I'm thinking of getting one of these to terrorize the local deer. Can they carry and drop a small payload?
  5. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Define "small". I think that particular Hexacopter (which was custom built, not available as a kit or complete.) was capable of lifting a few lbs (less than 5) for a few minutes.

    What kind of terror do you have in mind? ::-)

    Edit: Payload capacity of that particular craft is 10 ounces.
  6. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    I need that for moose.
    Find one on dry land , then go get it with the ATV ;)
    Come with a rifle mount ? LOL :)
  7. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Neat stuff...

    One unfortunate (or inevitable depending on how you look at it) side effect of the advent of all these cheap and available drone systems... the feds are worried about accidents with full scale aircraft... or even worse terrorists using unmanned aircraft for attacks...

    Result of all that is FAA has been working on proposed sUAS (small Unmanned Aerial System) regulations the last few years. R/C model airplanes got lumped in under the same definition as pilotless drones... and being that a lot of our models are much larger/faster/higher flying than these small toy systems some of the proposed rules looked like they would pretty much end the model airplane hobby at one point.

    Since then the rules loosened up.... but there is still a lot of controversy. Sure your little helipod there can only carry10oz and fly a few hundred ft. But give me a budget of a few thousand $ and I could build something that can carry say 10 or 20 lb up to a few thousand ft, travel a few miles at 120mph or so just using off the shelf parts from hobby distributors.

    Exciting and worrisome all at once.
  8. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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  9. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I know that one all too well. That guy was arrested 15 minutes drive from my house. After it happened there were investigators calling all the local model clubs asking if we knew anything about this guy. The president of my club got interviewed by a local TV station.

    95% of people who fly mode planes are in flying clubs and follow strict safety rules... But then you get a nutjob like that guy or some HS kids buy a helicopter and decide its fun to buzz people in a public park and then we get officials calling to ban the hobby :(
  10. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I think the cat is out of the bag - open source flight controllers, GPS, homemade or fully assembled craft, etc......

    The Feds will always have better ones than we do - so, if worse comes to worse, they can send packs of drones to protect from another drone!

    A guy I know works in math at MIT programming drones. It's not top secret, but it is along with the government. They are developing things which blow your mind - for instance, swarms of small drones which all operate under a certain "intelligence". Since they are electric, some of them go back to base and actually switch out their own batteries.....while the other keep watch.

    It seems like most of this stuff is in software...

    I think you are going to see more and more commercial uses of these machines - real estate photography is a big one. You can make very nice videos of large houses and estates with a fancy quad or heli.

    My dream, which is likely to never happen, would be a system which used a quad to take pics of a sailboat. This would be preprogrammed to follow a certain course around a receiver which could be placed on the target boat.

    A cheapo version of these - the cameras cost $600,000.00
    http://www.anchorfan.com/video/actv-helicopter-cameraman-uncovered-clips-43864.html
  11. Gark

    Gark Minister of Fire

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    If these devices are controlled from a handheld or central transmitter, I've always wondered what happens if it is inadvertantly flown outside of the reach of the transmitter? Lose control and go chase it? Or have they become more sophisticated somehow?
  12. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, a little of both. If they get out of range, they stop...or are supposed to. It seems to work pretty good when the unit is relatively low to the ground and perhaps 120-150 feet away - it just loses contact with my iphone and hovers. But when it's been really high and the wind moves it along, it seems to get confused. I am not going to go too crazy with the thing until I hook up a modification which will use a wifi repeater to give it a much stronger signal.

    I can't help thinking that these and other quadcopters could use a small parachute hooked up to some kind of sensor which would deploy after a certain speed downward (fall from high up).....lot of people crashing a lot of these types of machines.
  13. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    There are some pretty sophisticated radio control sytems available for R/C flyers. Should the radio lose contact with the transmitter, many can be programmed to fly a wide, level circle until contact is regained. The transmitters are capable of controlling the aircraft well beyond visual range as well.
  14. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Our old 72 MHz systems have a range that's 1 - 2 miles. Most of our gear has moved to 2.4 GHz spread spectrum now, the range is similar but its line of sight. The computerized gear has a failsafe so I can program all controls to a preset position in case of a loss of signal...say low throttle and a slight bank, but you can't program it to fly home.

    There are GPS autopilot modules available that can be used to program flight paths however.
  15. BrianK

    BrianK Guest

  16. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    That just moved to the top of my christmas list! That is so cool!
  17. cwill

    cwill Member

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    Warning for language.
  18. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Soon the animal activists can go video & shoot at those bass terds who shoot their drones & pigeons LOL :)
  19. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Funny but so obviously fake.

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