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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 5:29 pm 
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Evan the Diplomat wrote:
This might have been a laughable question a week ago, but after watching the NOVA program "Rise of the Drones" and an assortment of long format news reports I can see how this might have a role in some peoples preps.

First, I'm not referring to big pilotless aircraft like GlobalHawk, Predators or Reapers, but smaller buy or build your own model airplane Radio Controlled aircraft. http://www.dji-innovations.com/products ... gn=phantom" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

When I ran the Narcotics Affairs Section in Venezuela, I tried getting a SkySeer RPV for one of our local LEO partners. Typical of Latin America, most of the decent homes were surrounded by highwalls, so drug traffickers were able to use large houses as staging areas for drug trans-shipments. This would have given them the ability to peek over the wall and intercept the shipments.

I can imagine that something with a 2 mile range would be great for a person who has a 40 or 50 acre BOL for doing perimeter security patrols. You could plug in GPS way points , just launch and watch the video link. Or if I lived in an area prone to large scale disasters, floods, it could be a handy way to conduct damage assessment without having to drive around.

http://diydrones.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2010/12/h ... o-arrests/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


Yep, it's the new wave all techno survivalists should embrace.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:28 am 
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So I just saw this and this is actually right along the lines (no pun intended) of perimeter patrol and surveillance. Pre-programmed flight path before you take off. It will follow your planned flight path providing you with images. The price to get in on it now is not too bad at $699 for entry level and you get the drone and software. But this is still in production development as it would seem. Who knows what the price will be after that.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/aresdrones/ares-finally-a-drone-everyone-can-fly?ref=recommended

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 2:57 pm 
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doitnstyle1 wrote:
So I just saw this and this is actually right along the lines (no pun intended) of perimeter patrol and surveillance. Pre-programmed flight path before you take off. It will follow your planned flight path providing you with images. The price to get in on it now is not too bad at $699 for entry level and you get the drone and software. But this is still in production development as it would seem. Who knows what the price will be after that.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/aresdrones/ares-finally-a-drone-everyone-can-fly?ref=recommended


That is basically just a waypoint gps feature. Most of the newer copters can do waypoint mission flying. And many of the DIY flight controllers allow for way point creation.

The Plexidrone is able to do waypoints. Which is also supposed to be at the $699 price point and is likely to be on the market before the one you linked as they are already in production.

Already on the market for $750 is the 3D Robotics Iris + https://deals.myfirstdrone.com/sales/threedrobotics-iris-the-all-in-one-aerial-performance-drone that has way point ability.

The Parrot Bebop which is $899 with Skycontoler http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OOR90G0/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=PKVYYKNG2QB3&coliid=IXXSWBFXTUC9Y&psc=1 or just $499 without Skycontoler and piloted by phone or tablet http://www.amazon.com/Parrot-BeBop-Fisheye-Camera-Quadcopter/dp/B00OOR9060/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1428781651&sr=1-3

The Bebop is one of the drones I had been looking at as it is fairly low cost, ready to fly, fairly good for beginner crash resistance, and has a lot of great features like the waypoint one. One thing about the Bebop I learned though is piloting with just a phone or tablet the video gets pretty laggy, so the controller can be useful if you want to take the drone out of line of sight under manual control.

More and more I am looking at the DIY building of my own drone, as it would allow me to add and set up the features I want rather than what some company wanted to offer. But will see some months from now when I actually start getting serious about getting a drone. Still in the research and learn phase right now.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 6:47 pm 
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Everything I read about these talks about how unpredictable they are, how well they crash, how hard it is to get replacement parts, etc, etc, Kind of the opposite of everything I like.

Still be nice to have one if it worked.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:28 pm 
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Stercutus wrote:
Everything I read about these talks about how unpredictable they are, how well they crash, how hard it is to get replacement parts, etc, etc, Kind of the opposite of everything I like.

Still be nice to have one if it worked.


I don't know that they are all that unpredictable. The majority of issues tend to come from user error rather than a fault from the drone itself. Even the fly aways that seem to plague the industry might actually be user error. I have been reading that many think the problem is the user not waiting for the GPS to lock before launching. This makes the drone think the last place it was activated was "home" no matter how many miles it was away. And when return to home command is sent the drone heads off obediently no matter how far away that is. This isn't verified as the cause, but it is the majority opinion it seems of folks in the DIY drone community. That inexperienced folks are getting drones and not being patient for the GPS to lock on before flying.

But reliability is part of why I am looking into building one. I can pick out more reliable electronics and parts, instead of relying on the manufacture's idea of what I should get.

The end of the day though it does seem to be something that you should expect to have to repair regularly due to crashes. Likely it would be a good idea to preorder and stock up parts and have them at the ready. I know a lot of the DIY drone folks carry a repair kit with spare parts for when they need them.

*edit to add, it should be noted collision avoidance is something that is up and coming in drones. Plexidrone is coming out with a collision avoidance tech in it. And there are a bunch of folks working on developing different systems for this. I would guess in another year collision avoidance will be standard on all the main drone models. Which will make crashes a lot less frequent.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:31 pm 
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So I have found a new starter FPV drone I am likely going to pick up this weekend.

The Estes Proto X FPV.

Image

A little bigger than the Hubson FPV and very similar (in fact the controllers are interchangeable), but the Proto X offers the choices of SD card recording either in the drone, or in the controller. This lets you decide if you want high quality picture but with a bit laggier video signal, or less laggy but lower quality picture.

I get paid tomorrow and will likely pick one up at the local RC hobby store, who I know carries them. So I will likely be able to start learning to fly this weekend.

BTW I also learned Hubson has new updated versions of their FPV and other small drones coming out soon. They were announced at a drone show recently. Though they couldn't give much detail on what sort of improvements the newer versions had.

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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 11:37 pm 
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Well picked up the Proto X FPV today. LOL already broke 2 props, and had to go pick up 3 sets of extra props for back ups. These things are tricky to fly. Sadly the shops near me don't have extra batteries in stock. So I have to wait either for them to get more in stock or order from online to get a few extra batteries so I can practice flying for longer periods of time.

The controller for the Proto X FPV takes AA batteries, but because it powers the monitor as well as control functions, it eats batteries fast. I have been looking for a local supply for AA Eneloop batteries but no one seems to carry them. The guy at Batteries Plus didn't even know what they were, which was surprising. So I will likely have to order them online also. Or mod the controller to use a larger lipo battery.

So far I have been having fun learning to fly the quad copter. But it is pretty tricky. And it raining on and off today didn't help as It cut down my practice time quite a bit.

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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 2:03 pm 
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http://www.theverge.com/2015/5/7/8565049/insanely-fast-drone-qudcopter-quadmovr-warthox

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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 2:42 pm 
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doitnstyle1 wrote:


That is an insanely good pilot. In my hands that craft would be splinters and shards of smoking ruin in a matter of seconds.

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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 5:30 pm 
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ineffableone wrote:
doitnstyle1 wrote:
If you have never flown or owned one, may I suggest this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Syma-X5C-Channel-2-4GHz-Explorers/dp/B00KI03U8Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1428330487&sr=1-1&keywords=quadcopter

Although it is not FPV, I would get this to practice your flight through line of sight first. The FPV apparently fail regularly on those.

If you get the Syma, I would also suggest clipping the ends off of the blade protectors. they stick out and act as hooks that will get caught on anything. Luckily, I found this out in the house before getting it stuck up in a tree. I would also suggest a small fishing rod and lead weight so you can get it out of a tree with ease. It should be part of your recovery kit.

I'll try to post some nice video from mine.


The Hubsan X4 is one of the most recommended starter quads. I sort of figured maybe getting the Hubsan FPV X4 which is basically the same copter with an FPV cam added to skip over the cheap $40 version the regular X4 is, but still have the same general quality of it. I don't expect flawless FPV for $150. Just the ability to get some experience with it and to actually be able to see images I am recording is a nice feature, rather than the wait till you pull the card and check what images you got.

I am not planning to buy any time soon though. It will be a month or two before I even start to seriously consider buying a starter practice drone. Still lots of research and I plan to go to an actual RC hobby store and get some physical hands on and talk with some of the folks there. I did see the Syma, and have it bookmarked along with a bunch of others.

I have been checking out the Parrot Bebop a bit. While I have heard the FPV lags horrible when using a phone or pad to control, when used with the Skycontroler it is actually supposed to be fairly decent and get pretty good range. The big draw back is the integrated camera, though the stabilizing software is almost as good as many gimbals from what I have heard. A plus and minus the camera auto corrects for the fish eye. So you get less distortion fisheye effect unless you turn the camera to the corners of it's range. For the price, and from what I hear ease of control it might be the best option for me. I am not planning to go full tilt into this hobby, just wanting to eventually get a decent drone I can scout the wilderness with and terrain when I am looking for properties and then to do quick surveillance of the property when I get it.

I am also still hoping the Plexidrone comes out and stays affordable, if that hits the market and reviews come in positive that will likely be my choice.

Another quad that has caught my interest is the TTRobotix’s GHOST+. It comes not RTF, and you have to do some assembly to get it up and going, but it seems to have some promise and it is less work putting together than the SkyHero kits.

I have to say if I was going fully into this as a hobby I would likely be looking at SkyHero a lot more. They seem like a great step into the DIY world without starting from scratch and building from the ground up.

Oh and DJI copters have become something I am not interested no matter how cool and interesting they are.

I found out DJI has remote lockouts for their copters. Sold as to keep their copters from functioning in no fly zones (what happens if you stray too close to one while flying?) , this however enables DJI or the government to render any DJI drone inoperable with just a signal broadcast. I have also found out DJI will also lock out control until you update firmware when they release new versions, forcing you to update when they release new firmware. Which is rather annoying. I also wonder what happens if that lock out happens while your in flight?

Maybe it is just my paranoid don't trust government and corporations mentality, but if I buy a drone I don't want to get locked out from using it. Warning noise if you fly too close to a no fly zone, sure fine, but shutting your drone down, no thanks. As someone pointed out discussing this topic. Cars don't have accelerator lock outs to stop them from going over the speed limit. It is up to the driver to drive legally. Same should be applied to drone use.


To be honest with you here -- if you want a hacker's quadcopter. Something you can muck about with and push to its limits. Quanum Nova or Cheerson CX-20 Open Source (they're both the same clone) is what you want. I have two, one Nova and one CX-20 as well as a little Syma X5C-1 to play around with (and if we're all good boys and girls, I might bring one or more to zcon).

To keep in line with the thread. No, they're not part of my preps. No, I don't plan on using them as part of my preps. They're a fun hobby and I'm enjoying getting telemetry, waypoint navigation, first person video on a stabilized gimbal, etc, all working. But I wouldn't use one in a end of the world situation. It would probably be more trouble than it's worth. Unless I paid a couple g's to get a really nice hex and a really nice remote zoom lens camera, it'll easily be spotted from the distance I would need to get anything decent in the field of view of the sj5000+ I have strapped to it.

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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 5:45 pm 
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IMO manufacturers could maybe fix that flyoff issue - If "fly -these- waypoints" is set before launch, then you just force the drone to lock onto the GPS signals before it'll launch; That'd solve THAT cause, if it's that.

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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 5:51 pm 
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Mr_Sheesh wrote:
IMO manufacturers could maybe fix that flyoff issue - If "fly -these- waypoints" is set before launch, then you just force the drone to lock onto the GPS signals before it'll launch; That'd solve THAT cause, if it's that.


Yes and no. The Flyoffs are mostly caused by what is colloquially known as a GPS glitch. Basically some flight controllers have the ability to filter out certain GPS glitches for certain amounts of time. In fact, there are several that allow you to Arm in a GPS mode after you've reached an acceptably low HDOP value (the Nova I spoke of above has a default HDOP value of 2.0 before it allows any GPS assisted modes to arm the motors).

We arm in a mode called Loiter, this forces the GPS to have a very good signal with a good horizontal lock, then we can fly around and the GPS should, relatively speaking, stay within a 5 meter accuracy bubble. Sometimes the GPS can (and does) glitch out. A good flight controller can take that glitch, say to hell with it, and keep on going like nothing happened so long as it's receiving input from the transmitter.

The DJI flight controller is closed source, so only they can make improvements. My flight controller is open source and runs arducopter, which is constantly being improved on. If I enable a return to land command and it starts wigging out for some reason, as long as I'm within range, I can change flight modes and tell it to stop. DJI has enabled GPS modes in ALL modes (including stabilize, aka manual, aka auto) which is why their no fly zones stuff works, so if their GPS glitches out and the naza flight controller can't handle it, up it goes. Or say, the transmitter unbinds from the receiver and the failsafe SHOULD kick in and return it to where it was armed in a GPS mode, but the HDOP was too high when it armed so it thinks it's landing at home when it's really heading to Argentina. Bye bye birdy.

This was me trying to be succinct and running a whole ten pages of dialog into a couple paragraphs so forgive me if it seems all over the place.

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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 6:44 pm 
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elricfate wrote:
My flight controller is open source and runs arducopter, which is constantly being improved on.


FYI APM flight controllers have been "retired"



There is talk of outside development, but there will be no more official updates. 3DR is now concentrating on their Pixhawk flight controller.

Mr_Sheesh wrote:
IMO manufacturers could maybe fix that flyoff issue - If "fly -these- waypoints" is set before launch, then you just force the drone to lock onto the GPS signals before it'll launch; That'd solve THAT cause, if it's that.


Some companies do have a flight lock out before the GPS has enough satellite locks. However the DJI NAZE flight controllers, which for some odd reason seem to be the most popular, don't have that. And your right they should especially since they are marketed the most toward novice fliers and people who want to not think too much about how to fly.

I sometimes wonder if DJI knows they could easily fix this glitch but figure they get more sales when copters fly off, so don't bother. Not saying this is the case, but it sure seems like it sometimes.

BTW update on my learning to fly my little Proto X FPV. I finally got a decent flight where I took off, flew it out around a tree about 50 feet away, and returned to land pretty close to the take off point. YAY. I am slowly getting better. Of course with only one battery, it sort of slows down my progress. Once I have some extra batteries I can fly for a bit longer and get some decent practice. It seems like I am just getting the hang of things when the power drops and I can barely keep the drone in the air and the lights start flashing telling me to land. So having another battery to toss in and keep going will really help speed up my flying practice.

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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 6:55 pm 
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elricfate wrote:
To be honest with you here -- if you want a hacker's quadcopter. Something you can muck about with and push to its limits. Quanum Nova or Cheerson CX-20 Open Source (they're both the same clone) is what you want. I have two, one Nova and one CX-20 as well as a little Syma X5C-1 to play around with (and if we're all good boys and girls, I might bring one or more to zcon).


Well I just got my practice drone, the Proto X FPV.

I am planning to eventually get the Sky Hero little spyder 6 hex copter frame kit. It is in preorder right now, but should be coming out soon. I liked their spyder 6 but 1000mm size was a bit more than I would need. the little spyder 6 is 580mm.

This is my list of components I am thinking I want so far.

Frame = Sky Hero little spyder 6
Flight Controler = 3DR's PixHawk
Misc Electronics = I2C splitter, 3DR UBlox GPS + Compass module, Minim OSD, Pixhawk External LED and USB , Safety Switch for PX4/Pixhawk, LIDAR-Lite Rangefinder/Maxbotic I2C Sonar Rangefinder/Lightware SF02 Rangefinder (not sure what sort of range finder would be best yet or what might come out before I am ready to buy)
Motors = KDE 4012XF-400 motor (though not sure that specific KDE motor, need to do more research to figure out which size is going to be right)
Motor mounts = KYLIN aluminum coaxial motor mounts
Propellers = Still undecided, but I would like a 3 blade folding prop if I can find the right set
Radio = FrSky Taranius 9XD Plus
Long range = EZUHF Jr module
Main Camera = If the CGo2+ becomes available for a decent price I will opt for one of them (I like the round ball camera gimbal combo), otherwise it will be a GoPro.
Gimbal = xAircraft's STELLA gimbal if the CGo2+ isn't doable.
FPV camera = still undecided but leaning toward the Mobius
Landing gear = definitely going for retractable gear, but not sure if I will go with prebuilt ones or make my own yet.
LEDs = Definitely going to add a few LED lights. I have been looking at a few different options, but have plenty of time to decide as LEDS can be added after I do everything else.

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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 7:11 pm 
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ineffableone wrote:
elricfate wrote:
My flight controller is open source and runs arducopter, which is constantly being improved on.


FYI APM flight controllers have been "retired"



There is talk of outside development, but there will be no more official updates. 3DR is now concentrating on their Pixhawk flight controller.



Yes, the 2.6 APM board has been retired for versions of Arudcopter greater than 3.2.1 -- not a big deal. There's plenty of functionality and clean-code for the APM 2.6. Plus there's Naza32, CC3D, KK boards, Beaglebone blacks, MultiWii, etc. There's plenty to choose from.

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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 6:39 pm 
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Just an example of possible uses for a drone, this footage was taken of the flooding in Huston by a drone pilot. This is a condensed version the original is over 7 min



Great way to check out your area for flood damage and possible routes that might be blocked off.

and a little update on my practice flying. I have gotten a good deal better, and rarely crash now. I am hoping to start practicing some FPV flying soon, but need to find a good large open space to do that in. Since I have found with my limited area things just come up to fast while looking at the screen to react well while just learning. So I need to find a larger space to practice the FPV.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2015 11:31 pm 
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Recent development.

https://www.yahoo.com/tech/s/gun-firing-drone-built-us-teen-under-investigation-143302384.html

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2015 11:33 pm 
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http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/califo ... ay-n394516

Dickheads with drones block firefighters from doing their job. Thanks, assholes.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:12 am 
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In ZPAW see someone at a distance who is out of ammo and needs a full mag? Fly them a fresh mag to kill that zombie.



Ok it would help if you sent them the right type of mag, but what do you expect from a kid with an eyepatch. But at least the drone you used is a fight drone and can stand up to being used as a melee weapon.

These are the same guys who did the Guns and Gardens show, BTW. And yes they actually built a durable drone frame that can withstand a lot of abuse http://www.gameofdrones.com/ . They use them to do drone fights in the Ariel Sports League. Sort of a gladiatorial drone combat league.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:41 am 
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https://youtu.be/fHzM7H4Dp28

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:48 am 
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The multirotors are the new/cool thing, but there are appropriate options if you're interested in hang time and handling wind better.

I would consider a multilayered approach: a semiautonomous fixed-wing aircraft for longer flight time and the ability to handle varying winds aloft.
Using any information gained from that aircraft... say suspicious looking activity on your property, you can either 'take the stick' on the winged UAV for a closer look, or let it be and launch a multirotor for its ability to get slow and close.

Depending on terrain, or just close to the house, a ground 'bot could be used to clear the yard, garage, etc. without exposing yourself.

Granted, going this far is probably more likely with folks who already do this stuff as a hobby, at least until someone comes out with a plug-n-play prepackaged "rural security/surveillance kit"

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 1:02 pm 
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velojym wrote:
The multirotors are the new/cool thing, but there are appropriate options if you're interested in hang time and handling wind better.

I would consider a multilayered approach: a semiautonomous fixed-wing aircraft for longer flight time and the ability to handle varying winds aloft.
Using any information gained from that aircraft... say suspicious looking activity on your property, you can either 'take the stick' on the winged UAV for a closer look, or let it be and launch a multirotor for its ability to get slow and close.

Depending on terrain, or just close to the house, a ground 'bot could be used to clear the yard, garage, etc. without exposing yourself.

Granted, going this far is probably more likely with folks who already do this stuff as a hobby, at least until someone comes out with a plug-n-play prepackaged "rural security/surveillance kit"


Or a tethered dirigible with camera.
Or a camera on a tall mast.
Or geophones.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 1:42 pm 
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LowKey wrote:
velojym wrote:
The multirotors are the new/cool thing, but there are appropriate options if you're interested in hang time and handling wind better.

I would consider a multilayered approach: a semiautonomous fixed-wing aircraft for longer flight time and the ability to handle varying winds aloft.
Using any information gained from that aircraft... say suspicious looking activity on your property, you can either 'take the stick' on the winged UAV for a closer look, or let it be and launch a multirotor for its ability to get slow and close.

Depending on terrain, or just close to the house, a ground 'bot could be used to clear the yard, garage, etc. without exposing yourself.

Granted, going this far is probably more likely with folks who already do this stuff as a hobby, at least until someone comes out with a plug-n-play prepackaged "rural security/surveillance kit"


Or a tethered dirigible with camera.
Or a camera on a tall mast.
Or geophones.


I agree, a multi-tiered approach, based on conditions, needs, and maybe most of all, the interests of the person doing it.
I like the idea of a kytoon, myself, for a tethered multi-weather eye in the sky.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:49 pm 
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velojym wrote:
The multirotors are the new/cool thing, but there are appropriate options if you're interested in hang time and handling wind better.

I would consider a multilayered approach: a semiautonomous fixed-wing aircraft for longer flight time and the ability to handle varying winds aloft.
Using any information gained from that aircraft... say suspicious looking activity on your property, you can either 'take the stick' on the winged UAV for a closer look, or let it be and launch a multirotor for its ability to get slow and close.

Depending on terrain, or just close to the house, a ground 'bot could be used to clear the yard, garage, etc. without exposing yourself.

Granted, going this far is probably more likely with folks who already do this stuff as a hobby, at least until someone comes out with a plug-n-play prepackaged "rural security/surveillance kit"


While this sounds reasonable, how many people have property large enough to warrant this? Not many. Yes the fixed wing can stay up longer, but looses maneuverability and stability for the camera. Most properties are not going to be so huge that they will need a fixed wing to patrol it. In fact most fixed wings would have to work hard to stay inside the property. While a multi rotor can easily reach the edges of a 40 acre piece of property and do a perimeter check in the flight times they have.

For multi tier I would say a fixed wing is to explore conditions outside your property, while the multi rotor is for on the property. Sending a fixed wing down the road to see what is going on before you leave the property, or over to your neighbors to make sure they are ok, ahead of your vehicle to make sure the road is clear. These all make sense. But to patrol your property not so much.

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