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Sky Done supports FirstNet public safety network

Drones are already saving lives and Sky Drone is making safe BVLOS operations for first responders easier than ever before.

Today we announced two new modem options for all of our LTE-enabled UAV communication products. Both are industrial grade LTE Advanced Pro modems with global coverage, one option including support for FirstNet. The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) runs  a dedicated public safety network for police, fire and emergency medical services.

Our solution allows first responders to fly drones equipped with Sky Drone technology beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) on a dedicated and managed LTE network to  get valuable situational awareness without having to rely on public network infrastructure.

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Flying a pentacopter after losing one motor

This was inspired by @John Hestness's comment in my last blog:

"Can a pentacopter survive the loss of one motor?"

I thought it sounded like a very interesting idea so I tried it during the weekend. Short answer: it depends on which motor fails. In some cases, a pentacopter is still fully controllable after losing one motor.

Long answer: since a) we cannot alter the spinning direction of motors during the flight, and b) a pentacopter has 2 CW and 3 CCW rotors (or vice versa), if one of the CW motors fails, we end up having 1 CW only but 3 CCW rotors, and after doing the math I conclude there is no way such a copter can still balance itself.

However, if one of the CCW motors is not functional, we are left with 2 CW and CCW motors. That sounds like a quadcopter and indeed it can still fly.

I turned one motor off at roughly 00:08 and 00:25 (you will notice the propeller stopped spinning if you look closely), and switched the controller to control the resulting nonsymmetric 'quadcopter'. It still flew reasonably well.

I have to mention that this is still slightly different from what we expect to see in a copter that can be called "motor fault tolerated": ideally, instead of telling the copter to turn off a rotor, we want to auto-detect the motor failure maybe using ESC, or evening infer that from IMU data, but still, this video showed the potential and I hope it could be helpful for someone in this community.

As usual, everything is open-source:

Document:

https://people.csail.mit.edu/taodu/loss_of_motor/doc.pdf

Code:

https://github.com/dut09/ardupilot/tree/d7ce9b440bb6f11e1401db5a90a39e4857f10560

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SmartAP GCS integrates AirMap

Sky-Drones prioritizes and always strives to enhance the safety of UAV operations - for this reason we integrated AirMap  - world's leading airspace management platform for drones. Now in SmartAP GCS and available for all platforms including iOS, Android, Mac OS, Windows. Visit http://sky-drones.com/smartap-gcs for more info or download SmartAP GCS now.

Downloads:

iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smartap-gcs/id1349876201

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sky_drones.SmartAP_GCS

Mac OS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smartap-gcs/id1351690745?mt=12

Windows: http://sky-drones.com/download.php?file=SmartAP-GCS-Win.zip

Or visit https://sky-drones.com/smartap-gcs for more info

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Lightweight 3D Printed Endurance Quadcopter

I'd like to share a project I've been busy with for the past months. It's a lightweight, small size quadcopter built for long flight time. The AUW of the quad is 85g, and uses geared propulsion with micro DC motors. Controlled by a F4 brushed flight controller, and using a 300mah 2S lipo battery. With this configuration it achieves around 10 mins flight time, which could be further increased with a redesign of some structural parts focusing further on weight-reduction. 

The quadcopter is quite stable and responsive for it's weight and size, and is also suitable for indoor flying. I've designed and 3D printed all structural parts for this quad, including the motor and prop holding assemblies and main body. The arms themselves are build out of unidirectional carbon fiber tubing.

I've got some more photos and characteristics up on my blog, so if you like this check it out.

I'll be posting a flight video of this quad sometime soon, so stay tuned! Needless to say, if you have any ideas or comments I'd love to hear from you.

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Pentacopter build log

A step-by-step guide to building my own pentacopter:

https://people.csail.mit.edu/taodu/pentacopter_guide/guide.pdf

Everything (software and hardware) is open-sourced and publicly available.

flight video:

Firmware:

https://github.com/dut09/ardupilot/tree/holodeck-demo

Simulation software:

https://github.com/mit-gfx/multicopter_design

Frame design:

https://cad.onshape.com/documents/829cfef861a7d873d7f403de/w/2d807cb313793dabb7bfbee6/e/658cd3f46b668b90be89e8e8

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