Tiny and Autonomous: The Friendly Neighborhood Drone!
Building these evil drone things kevin, theyre, gon na take over the world theyre gon na just zap, my kids brains and drones do make me uncomfortable its just like building the tools to end humanity come on thats, not cool uh. Now i got ta worry about your chrono plants, taking pictures of me while im swimming in the ocean too. It messes with the radial signal between the controller and the drone works out well evil to even think of how to make drones Music, Music. This is the friendly neighborhood drone, an unmanned aerial vehicle designed to be able to fly entirely by itself from launch to landing in the smallest package. I could manage from parts available to anyone for reasons i do not yet fully understand. Some people are hesitant to embrace drone technology and i wanted to make this drone as friendly as possible sort of an ambassador for all robot kind. If you will, this project started with a desire to have something legal to fly for a trip south of the california border. Many places in the world require drones to weigh less than 250 grams for you to fly them without a license or registration. So my goal for this project was to make a lightweight drone that could legally be flown almost anywhere. What i ended up with was this incredibly small lightweight, fully autonomous drone that almost anyone can make fits in something as small as a backpack and still delivers.
High definition, video footage over the years ive become fairly good at creating what i want in an aircraft on the first try, but this simple design took five iterations before i had something on my hands that i was happy with. On the first two builds, i was designing around a camera i found on amazon, which im pretty sure was actually a scam, but by the time i went to buy it, it was apparent that something was up and i didnt bother. Fortunately, daniel from rc test flight showed up to work on another collaboration about that time and thought this plan was pretty cool. He showed me his insta 360 go 2 and i now had a high quality camera to design around that new direction needed two more airframe. Iterations to get right, but in the end i think the finished product was pretty cool and a lot more capable than what i thought was possible in a build. This small, at least when i first had started the project okay. So this is how you dont solder a battery together, but you should definitely be using a spot welder. Unlike what im doing while daniel was here, we went out one morning to get some footage and to test out the plane. He was pretty happy with it and he thought this would make a great first person view platform. I disagreed and felt this would make a better uav. Let me know in the comments below that you agree with me, so i finally had a build that could do the job.
Well, there were a few electronic gremlins to sort out and ill share with you later in the video. What setup ended up working for me? One problem i had to fix was getting these tiny motors to rotate consistently, which meant that on several occasions, the propeller stopped turning and the airplane made an unplanned landing in someone elses yard. But this did give the friendly neighborhood drone the opportunity to make new friends. Look at that little ant on the lower left, its like, i dont care, seems friendly to me. Im just gon na keep moving this rock and theres my plane so close, yet so far away Music and then a few more stopped by to check out their new bestie. Eventually it even made another human friend Music. Is this? It yeah. I was wondering what happened. I guess one of those motors those wires came here: oh thats, what happened right there because i launched it and then it just. I just thought it started. Sinking, sinking, sinking thinking and i couldnt do anything. So a cool thing about this drone is that, since it is so small and lightweight, it is nearly impossible to damage. Because of this, i was curious to try my very first autonomous landings, despite not having anything other than a gps and a barometer to work with. This also meant that, as the drone came in to land, i could catch it in my hands like a frisbee check.
It out without more sensors for the autopilot to rely on. I would not try this with something larger, without possibly getting injured or damaging the craft with modern electronics. However, these small scale experiments can now be safely attempted you guys might do a little mission here. The planes going to land on its own, so just kind of like watch out for me im not really in control its just doing its own thing, ive never done before with this plane, so i dont know how well its going to go. This is the first time i have ever tried a completely autonomous mission, and my first flight happened to be at a local club where i fly on a busy sunday morning. The perfect stage for embarrassing myself. However, not only did i avoid embarrassment. The friendly neighborhood drone quickly became the center of attention, as everyone wanted a chance to fly it. Each person took their turn, launching it watching it fly its pre programmed mission and then come back and land all by itself. Applause, Music, my local club buddies, have seen me fly various projects out there for years from simple to complex, but i dont think anything. Ive flown has generated nearly as much curiosity. Im gon na fly autonomously, Music, amazing. After quite a bit of testing to narrow down a reliable setup and figure out a consistent landing sequence, it was time to go, get some video footage and see what the world looks like through the eyes of this little robot, its freaking freezing and my fingers are Not gon na survive its like 22 degrees, its 22 degrees, and these birds are freaking diving in the water.
Not only are they in the water theyre diving in the water, how do they not freeze to death? I dont understand Music, its calling me Music, Music, Music, shes, calling me Music Music, oh Music, shes, calling me Music, Music, foreign, Music, Music, Music – hmm! Well, i guess i guess i take that back. The friendly neighborhood drone doesnt seem all that bad. Really. In fact, it would make a great toy for the children thats kind of cute id id, probably wait to see when it comes back. I like it its good its like a neighborhood drone. All right, i guess not all drones – are that bad and evil. I really appreciate the explanation kevin and for helping me and this guy work out our differences aint that right little buddy i mean i got ta say i got ta eat my words. The drone that kevin made its it really just changed my mind. Its such an ambassador to all drones, i think its fantastic. I mean i want one for each of my kids, its awesome. We we definitely want them around theyre gon na be great for humanity. Theyre gon na take us far and im excited to see what happens. So thats about it for this one. All in all, i would say this is one of the most rewarding projects. Ive ever done its extremely low risk, yet high reward and its really accessible for everyone. Before i started this project, even i didnt realize how accessible all this technology could be Music for those of you that are more tech savvy and want to give it a try on your own, in this case, im using arduplane, which, as far as im concerned, is The best autopilot software on the planet and for telemetry i ended up going with a dragonlink micro, receiver and transmitter the telemetry caused the biggest headaches on this project for sure set it back a couple of months trying to find a small, reliable unit.
The micro receiver comes in at about 12 grams and i was able to strip it down to about six grams and still get, i think, the same functionality. You can see ive soldered the antennas directly onto the pads to save weight. So i was able to take off that sma connector. I also took off all of the pins and direct soldered on the the rc and telemetry link, actually thats, just the rc link, heres the telemetry link, and that goes in there and then i took off the um. I took off the. I think it was like a heat sink and kind of like an rf shield at the same time, and i replaced it with copper tape with um non conductive tape, underneath thats called captain tape. That goes underneath the copper tape, so um dont hate on me. Dragon link, if i um did something you dont like and dragon link will be coming out with a new nano receiver with the same functionality as the one that i was able to strip down. So you wont need to do any of that and for the autopilot hardware i used my favorite controller, which is the mayan robotics control, zero and um. I use the f7 board, which is really tiny. They have an h7 board now, which is better, but its also. A little bit larger but its definitely more powerful and there is a completed 2 cell lithium ion 1100 milliamp 9 amp battery at 54.
2 grams motors were a real problem. On this one. I found that on bl heli speed controllers running d shot 600. I had to run 12 millimeter motors. I tried 11 millimeter motors, which are definitely powerful enough for this tiny little guy, which weighs about six six ounces, so i couldnt get them to commentate appropriately. If somebody in the audience knows what i was doing wrong, please drop a comment and let me know how i could get those 11 millimeter motors running that would save about 30 percent of motor weight.