Tag Archives: multirotor

Dutch Engineers create the world’s smallest autopilot – The Lisa/S flight controller

Bart Remes wants you to have a personal drone in the pocket. Lisa/S brings this goal closer.

Lisa/S – Source

At 2×2 cm and just 2 grams, Lisa/S could well be the world’s smallest autopilot, except maybe the one from the Black Hornet (on which no details are currently available).

The Lisa/S autopilot
The Lisa/S autopilot

Lisa/S was created virtually from scratch by Bart Remes, project manager of the Micro Aerial Vehicle Lab at the Aerospace Engineering Faculty of the TuDelft, and it’s team.

Continue reading Dutch Engineers create the world’s smallest autopilot – The Lisa/S flight controller

BeetleCam project goes aerial with the BeetleCopter multirotor

In 2009 Burrard Lucas, an British wildlife photographer started the Beetle Cam project, aimed at getting close up photos and videos of african wildlife. How? A look at the equipment will get you the picture:

Burrard Lucas Beetlecam - Source
Burrard Lucas Beetlecam – Source
Burrard Lucas Beetlecam, camo setup - Source
Burrard Lucas Beetlecam, camo setup – Source

Continue reading BeetleCam project goes aerial with the BeetleCopter multirotor

Multirotors for protecting endangered wildlife – Airware’s drones guard african rhinos

Using drones for surveillance is a somewhat controversial activity that entails several aspects, including legal ones, that have to be weighted and balanced for the best interest of all the parties involved.

In urban environments the use of drones could be an important tool for law enforcement, although such use requires some careful planning. This kind of use has to take into account, and balance with citizen’s right to privacy.

In other instances, multirotors were used by activists to monitor what they deem as illegal or disgraceful activities, for example on the treatment of animals on private land. Check out this story or this one, for example. Interestingly, both these stories deal with the protection of animals from mistreatment.

On the same line, but in an entirely different environment, a project have started, as a collaboration between Airware, a company that specializes in the construction of UAVs for a variety of applications, and Ol Pejeta Conservacy, a non-profit wildlife conservancy in Kenya supporting endangered species, tourism and community outreach.

Airwave's web site, click to visit
Airwave’s web site, click image to visit

Continue reading Multirotors for protecting endangered wildlife – Airware’s drones guard african rhinos

Pennsylvania Pigeon hunters shoot at multirotor that was filming them

As documented in the video below, a multirotor piloted by pro-animal activists that was filming the activities of some pigeon hunters in Pennsylvania, was shot while in action.

The author of the movie states that shooting the multirotor was an illegal act and constitutes “criminal damage to property”. The police called to the shooting spot by the activists decided to not take any particular action. Continue reading Pennsylvania Pigeon hunters shoot at multirotor that was filming them

A new announcement of a multirotor/drone based delivery service: Amazon Prime Air

We have recently reported about new possibly upcoming drone/multirotor based delivery services for books and pizza.

How about extending multirotor deliveries to the full amazon catalogue (limited to small sized items)? Direct delivery from Amazon to your doorstep in under 30 minutes from the moment you place the order online with the new Amazon Prime Air service.

Here’s the Amazon YouTube video that totalized slightly less than 12 million visits since december 1 2013. In just 5 days this is an amazing page views score. This shows a huge interest from the public that will possibly support the development of the project.

Amazon is realistic and acknowledges that actual implementation of the project could well take a few years. This is a statement on the Amazon page:

“Putting Prime Air into commercial use will take some number of years as we advance the technology and wait for the necessary FAA rules and regulations.”

However right below, in the same page FAQ section, we read:

“Q: When will I be able to choose Prime Air as a delivery option?
A: We hope the FAA’s rules will be in place as early as sometime in 2015. We will be ready at that time.”

Amazon Prime Air octocopter
Amazon Prime Air octocopter – Click for high res version
Amazon Prime Air
Amazon Prime Air – Click for high res version

Indeed, the development of such a multirotor based service will have to deal closely with FAA and it’s regulations. Current rules allow flying any RC model, with a number of restrains, but commercial services require an explicit permit from FAA to be carried out. This is the base for the well know story of Raphael Pirker and the FAA commercial flying ban, where Raphael Pirker aka “Trappy”, funder of Team Black Sheep, was issued a 10.000$ fine by FAA for taking some aerial footage, for money, of the University of Virginia. We covered the story here.

Would FAA allow Amazon to launch such a service, as described in the promotional video above, tomorrow? Likely not for a number of very good reasons in my opinion.

Jeff Bezos presents the new Amazon Prime Air multirotor based delivery service
JAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos presents the new Amazon Prime Air multirotor based delivery service

A number of safety concerns are involved in such a project. The machine itself must be full proof with redundant control and power systems. Research required in this field as the technology is still relatively new. What kind of avoidance systems will be in place? Camera/video based? Sonar based? Both? Research required. How do you deal with the dogs welcome committee at landing? (see here). How do you ensure reliable and secure delivery, after all a packet is just left on a front yard, a number of things could happen before the customer actually get it in his hands.

Here’s a video that discusses a number of potential issues:

Despite all these problems to be solved, some kind of minor issues, other more serious, It looks to me that it’s just a matter of time before we get to see drones delivering items to our doorstep. The questions is not really if we are going to see this, but when.


New version of the Volocopter from e-volo – The first Manned multirotor flight device

We have probably all seen the original volocopter video that totalized more than 8 million visits (!!) on youtube since it was uploaded on October 28, 2011.

Volocopter: 18-propeller electric helicopter takes flight

Volocopter from e-voloVolocopter from e-volo

Here’s the October 2011 video:

Since then, also thanks to a huge crowdfunding effort, e-volo now presents a prototype the first battery powered manned multirotor. The cockpit is reminiscent of helicopters but the flying mechanism is exquisitely multirotor based.

Here are a few pictures of the new volocopter, from the e-volo website.

The new manned volocopter from e-volo
The new manned volocopter from e-volo


e-volo volocopter
e-volo volocopter
It flies!
It flies!

And here are a few specs, from a KSL article:

  • Battery: 100Kg, 17.5 kilowatt-hour battery
  • Passengers: 2
  • Total weight: 300 Kg
  • Propellers: 18
  • External circular frame diameter: 10m
  • Price tag: 338.000$
  • Current flight time: 20-40 mins depending on load and wind conditions

See it in action in this video:

Edit 11/12/2013: for more details check out this updated article on EarthTechling

Lady Gaga Volantis: the first multirotor driven flying dress

On November 10 2013 Lady Gaga introduced the first multirotor based flying dress at her ArtPop album release in Brooklyn, NY.

Lady Gaga Volantis - source
Lady Gaga Volantis – source

The flying machine was piloted by Gus Calderon (source), a Carlsbad resident, certified pilot by FAA and owner or ISIS copter, a firm that “combines the expertise of naval engineers and FAA-certified commercial pilots to bring you the strongest, finest quality aerial platforms available on the market“.

I’d very much like to have one of those to go to work in the morning, any chance?

Which reminds us the notorious world’s first manned multicopter flight video by Thomas Senkel of e-volo. Here’s the Volocopter V1. The flight lasted 90 glorious, long seconds:


Animal liberation front uses 17000$ drone to spy (lawfully) on farms

The animal liberation front in Australia uses a big octocopter to gather information and evidence on the treatment of animals in farms, to be passed to authorities. The operation of drones on private land appears to be fully lawful.

Here the story and the video:


Update 7/1/2014

Looks like the Animal Liberation Front  has many “supporters”. Here’s what the youtube page shows now.

“The account was terminated due to multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement”

The present YouTube page for the Animal's Liberation Front  video posted above at the time.
The present YouTube page for the Animal’s Liberation Front video posted above at the time.