Thursday, 27 November 2014
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Building a UAV

The Engineer paid a visit to Southampton University to get an up-close look at the technology that’s enabling the creation of low-cost unmanned aerial vehicles.

For a more detailed look at HALO, see our in-depth feature.


Readers' comments (8)

  • Suspending the battery many inches below the body may well increse the stability of the uav . This would, however, have to be measuered against wind and drag to show if any gains are to be had .

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  • When people begin getting their pizza deliveries and doing their banking by UAV it`s gonna get mighty congested up there.

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  • Why not use three, longer legs for more stability on a rough landing site?

    When better batteries are avaialble, hopefully soon, that should really help with longer mission time.

    Hopefully you will have matched the motors well to the propellers/fans as the efficiency of the combo can drop off dramatically if the motor is oversized.

    Have great fun as this is the right way to live and do great things! If you lose track of time you are doing it right.

    Never believe the assumptions of others! Read Rupert Sheldrake soon!

    Jim H. White (System designer of the Canadarm and designer of all six joint drive systems)

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  • As one can see building new functional models of UAV and prototypes manned craft is rather easy and use the same carbon fibre and titanium aluminium construction materials albeit in slightly larger diameters and thicknesses.

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  • Many thanks for all the comments.

    The battery position was chosen for compactness and portability. The UAV is very stable and agile with this configuration.

    The reason for four legs was to enable a landing on a pitched roof (with two possible angles). This was one of the requirements of the DARPA UAVForge challenge.

    Our motors/props are very well matched, providing efficient flight modes and long endurance, currently 32 minutes in hover.

    We enjoy working hard and having fun doing so!

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  • I'm not convinced that dual, counter-rotating propellors is the most effective use of power. It seems to me the lower propellor has to deal with extremely turbulent airflow.

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  • Dr Prior addresses this issue in our written report on the craft

    http://www.theengineer.co.uk/sectors/aerospace/in-depth/drone-of-your-own-low-cost-uavs-take-to-the-skies/1014946.article

  • Has anyone here read the Stanford University report "living under drones"? It documents the experience of Pakistani communities that are subject to aerial surveillance (and military action) 24/7. The development of UAVs dramatically lowers the cost of military action, for rich nations, and results in increased use of force, with widespread civilian loss of life as a result. I would like to ask the engineers posting on this site what they think the ethics are of contributing to development of this technology? Presumable the funding is military, rather than from pizza companies?

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  • The report that this commenter mentions can be found here: http://livingunderdrones.org/

  • Building your own UAV unless your already knowlegable about RC is going to be very difficult for the average individual to undertake. Furthermore, if you plan on using the UAV for a specific purpose, what you end up building will have to be built and rebuilt to get the kind of results you want out of it. I know because I was a hobbyist at one point myself.

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