On the week of the official launch of Drone Coalition, InterDrone 2015 (Sept 9-11, Las Vegas) will be featuring several of our staff writers, including Lisa Ellman, Mike Fortin, Sally French, Kerry Garrison, Gretchen West and myself. [Read more…]
Continuing from my last post “Under The Hood – 3DR SOLO – Part I, I will begin taking you through the steps I took to disassemble my SOLO. To begin remove the battery pack from the SOLO. Underneath there a four phillips-head screws. Using a basic screw driver these four screws can be easily removed. When disassembling there is no right or wrong way. Everything is learned by trial and error. The most important thing is you don’t break it! Proceeding cautiously will go along way to ensuring you’ll be able to fly again. [Read more…]
Hi and welcome to my very first post as a contributing member of Drone Coalition. I’m excited to be here and have some great topics lined up for the Fall. As an Engineer I’m more interested in the engineering behind these machines and the new technologies in development for their advancement. We are already into the third generation of drones in this rather young industry. Within this generation the Apps (Android and iOS) are dominating the scene with their advancements in flight operations. Now more than ever the operator has everything at their fingertips. Give it time and the term “Pilot” will be replaced with “Operator” or “Programmer”. The user will program the drone’s mission and it will autonomously complete it.
With that said let’s get right into my first multi-part series on the engineering behind the drones. Although there are many types all drones, basically all operate under the same principles and mechanics. What better way to teach this than to actually tear down the most technologically advanced drone currently on the market, the 3DR Solo. But first my disclaimer.
Disclaimer: Although not necessary to fly the drone, tearing it apart is to be done at your own risk and will void all manufacturer’s warranties. There is a chance doing so will permanently damage the drone and it will become an expensive static model only to be displayed in your office. While offering an amazing learning opportunity, it is not for the faint of heart and the user needs to be aware of the risks.
Good. With that scary statement out of the way let’s begin our operation. Recently I was lucky enough to find a Solo by 3D Robotics in my local Best Buy. With two independent 1Ghz computers in the system, this drone by far has more processing power than what we have seen become available to the consumer. Although the firmware is still pretty green, anticipation is high for what the future holds for this machine. 3D Robotics is a US drone company founded by Technologist and former Editor in Chief of Wired Magazine, Chris Anderson. What distinguishes 3D Robotics from other manufacturers is the open source policy that is similar to companies like: The Linux Foundation, Red Hat, and Mozilla. 3D Robotics is also a strong supporter of the DIY (Do It Yourself) Maker movement spreading across the country. Their drones are meant to be tinkered with, taken apart, and dissected. Currently there is a whole community of developers writing the code base for this machine.
Unlink most, when I first got my Solo I didn’t fly it. I decided to see what was under that injection molded shell. I got out my IFixIt tool kit, took a deep breath, and began my 3DR Solo tear down.
Note – the images in this post got a little messed up with a server move. Most of them should be below:
(hit link above and see all files with Solo in their name.
Gallery of additional shots below:
While we’re all currently focused on the issues surrounding commercial UAS for aerial imaging, data networking and small package delivery in our near future, what do we know about commercial UGS (Unmanned Ground Systems) plans for use in our daily lives? With resistance to getting the Amazon Drones off the ground due to current FAA regulatory indecision, maybe instead of looking to the skies for our answers, we might focus here on the ground. [Read more…]
Using a drone to get imagery for 3D mapping is rapidly catching on, and thanks to Pix4D software, they’ve made strides in bringing the technology to the small UAV market. We’ve only just begun to see where this technology is going to take us, and how we can best utilize it for industry. New designs in drone hardware, cameras and software applications such as the DJI Phantom 3 Professional with the DJI Go app are really pushing the envelope. [Read more…]
Have Drone, Will Travel!
San Francisco, Orlando, Indianapolis, Virginia, Los Angeles…… Ahh the glamour of travel!
Wait…Glamour…Traveling with a drone ain’t what its cracked up to be!
One of the most frequently asked questions I get from people is “How do you travel with your equipment”. [Read more…]
A really neat feature that is coveted by drone makers is fully autonomous flying. I say “coveted” because it’s “sort” of there. First of all what is it?
You can open a map and set points on the map for the drone to fly to. There are called waypoints. Once you have plotted your waypoints, the copter can fly on a preset path all by itself. You can also set the altitude and speed of the course. [Read more…]