just scanned through this, 8 mins and apparntly no footage of the video from the camera supposedly attached. im not believing it.
French engineering students have designed a do-it-yourself unmanned aerial vehicle that can provide high-resolution, geo-referenced surveillance images in real time. At the Defcon hacking conference in Las Vegas earlier this month, Antoine Gademer and Corentin Chéron, two of the students from l'Ecole Supérieure d'Informatique …
Brilliant as it is, hasn't it been done before? While it's definately an achievement, it's nothing a lot of other mecha-tronics-y people couldn't manage- and probably for a lot less money. And the presentation of the idea... mentioning the number of wires going to the motors rather than the control system- which has to be the star of the show if it'll let it hover in a 70cm sphere... just... no.
Was there a previous presentation about it or something that's been missed?
The technology is all used in electric model helicopters, but has one important drawback - it can't autorotate. Lose one motor, the whole thing crashes and burns. The "Powerful 3-phase motors and 3-phase speed controllers" are in everyday use in model aircraft and helicopters. I have, umm, 9 model aircraft using them sitting right now in my garage. A motor the size of the ones in the "UAV" costs about £40, the speed controller a similar amount and the LiPo battery (they had one per motor) about £50, all bought from my local hobby shop. I even have a video camera I can attach to any of my models, and in our club there is at least one remote telemetry video camera.
The only different thing is the control board that coordinates the motor thrust to give speed and directional control. Big deal. You can but something that'll do that as a toy (with 4 upward-facing props) for less than £100 on the high street. It ain't rocket science.
It's not even a UAV in the commonly accepted meaning of the term, it's remotely controlled. Most UAVs have some autonomous flight capability - if you take your fingers off the transmitter this one will crash and burn. All it is is an RC aircraft that is in fact inferior to an electric helicopter (because it can't auto rotate).
For goodness sake, it's complete rubbish - these days there are even plenty of model aircraft hobbyists who have mounted cameras on gimbals on their aircraft, wear goggles with head-tracking software that controls the gimbals, and they fly their models out of direct sight using the cockpit view (Of questionable legality in the UK, mind).
€5000? Rubbish. £1000 absolute max.
Bloody students just wanted their university to pay for their model plane.
Oooh, look, I've had a rant!
The developers talk about automatic take off and landing, GPS waypoint navigation. However, all the video shows is an R/C toy - controlled from the ground.
I would guess that their choice of battery powered motors (c.f. liquid fuelled) would reduce the flight-time of the vehicle, but no information was given about how long it could stay up, or about it's ability to keep station in windy conditions.
I hope this project gets developed and I *really* hope they can get the unit to the point where it fulfills all it's objectives and becomes commercially available for a couple of hundred pounds / euros.
No doubt then it'll get banned.
"No doubt, aerial spy drones are nothing new. But as the demo shows, they're quickly coming within the reach of geeks and hackers everywhere."
We've been doing video from remote controlled flying vehicles (and some uncontrolled, as in rockets) as long as light weight video cameras have been available to the general public. I think I first put a CCD camera into an RC airplane in 1986, or thereabouts ...
have these people bee asleep in a cave for the last 10 years?
these guys have been making quad and six rotor radio controlled helicopters with cameras on them for over 10 years now.
they also do lots of other cool flying machines like hot air balloons and flying saucers for exhibitions to distribute flyers from the air and other fancy stuff like that.
There is already automated control systems for UAV around, including some open source options of the set waypoints/photograph this/land here variety around on the internets that you can attach to model fixed-wing aircraft for way less wedge. So this isn't really anything new, and it's not very good - and it's expensive.
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We made miniature version of the aerial drone, weighing about 70g and costing around £150. It is based on our Jump Jet aircraft, and was completed using readily available parts. It can fly up to about 100 feet outdoors. Some picures and video shot from the plane, can be viewed here:
I was at the defcon presentation, which showed a couple of videos and demos. For the most part it seemed like the presenters hadn't had a lot of experience with much outside matlab, so they were proud of what they'd accomplished.
Their presentation did give me a fun idea, if I ever get around to actually building it.
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