Multirotor Systems 101

Multicopters are not the only kind of drone, but they have become an enduring icon of the rise of aerial robotics in the last few years.  Small, easy-to-fly, and maneuverable, multicopters have become a practical and inexpensive way to get fantastic perspectives with aerial photography; create high resolution, up to date maps; deliver small payloads; and simply build and fly your own robots for fun. They can VTOL, hover, and even perform acrobatic maneuvers.

This session is DC DUG's "getting started" discussion for the world of multirotors, and is intended as a prelude to the DC DUG build workshop to:

• Help you decide what you need to purchase if you want to buy your own multirotor (either off-the-shelf or DIY)

• Understand the various system components of a multirotor and the basic tradeoffs and limitations involved in each part of the system --- Motors, Propellers, ESCs, Radio Transmitters, Telemetry, FPV.

• Get an idea of what the "state of the art" is --- I try and keep this part of the lecture up-to-date.

• Discuss the legal and regulatory status of using small multicopters today as a hobbyist and professional. 

• Learn where to get help.

• Meet up with other DC Drone User Group Members and make connections

The scope of this 101 session is to cover the technology basics from a systems perspective, and does NOT at all cover the breadth or depth of topics involved in the world of unmanned aerial systems; such as flight procedures, physics, electrical engineering, aeronautical engineering, control theory, software programming, piloting, ethics and law, etc.

The speaker is a PhD student at George Mason University studying motion planning algorithms for autonomous robotics.

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  • Mark G.

    This was an excellent meetup for anyone who wanted to get the "ground" level basics of what drones are all about. I don't think I'll be going any further with drones as a commercial photographer until the rules and regs a. get clearer and b. in favor of business. Looks like commercial usage is OUT. I'd love to do this as a hobby but I don't really have the time; I was hoping it could be both a hobby and profitable. I was very fascinated with the research uses for this and how it can help agriculture.

    1 · July 10

    • Christopher V.

      it is likely that in the future, regulations for commercial photography via drone will consist of obtaining some form of license. this is consistent with what has already been in effect in other countries, and what the FAA has been hinting at.

      July 11

  • Charles W.

    This was an excellent meetup and fully met its information objectives on both the technology and current state of the FAA regulations. I would encourage all members to become members of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) which, in addition to its active lobbying efforts on behalf of its members, provides timely email notices of temporary no-fly zones. The FAA's 1987 guidelines were adopted from the AMA's rules and, as the AMA likes to point out, the AMA predates the FAA by several decades.

    1 · July 11

  • Arvind B.

    Nice presentation Chris. It's great to see so many people interested in UAS and also getting the chance to meet everyone. As a noob, I'm looking forward to learning from everyone about what I can do both professionally and as a hobbyist. Speaking of FAA issues, I just read this: http://www.forbes.com/sites/gregorymcneal/2014/07/11/six-things-you-need-to-know-about-amazons-drones/

    July 11

  • jared

    Great presentation Chris, Very informative! A bit disheartening regs for UAV enthusiasts in the region but great to understand the "guidelines" as the now stand. Thanks!

    1 · July 11

  • Dom

    Thanks for another very informative event. Much appreciate your willingness to teach and share what you know.

    1 · July 10

  • Bill

    Is anyone else flying the Walkera 350Pro? I cannot seem to get my radio to communicate with the camera or the camera gimbal and would love to chat and compair install / wiring to debug and find my problem.

    July 8

  • CEASAR

    I'm a commercial photographer and looking to buy a drone for use for my clients but understand at this point in time, I cannot fly a model aircraft for payment or commercial purposes. Does anyone see this changing in the near future?

    July 5, 2014

    • Christopher V.

      Of course, I will try to present this topic in the most unbiased manner I can. You should make your own choices regarding the law, but I hope that you at least choose to follow the community-based guidelines and best practices for the safety of yourself and others. In a very broad sense we just ask that you don't be stupid and ruin it for the rest of us.

      July 6, 2014

    • Christopher V.

      (disclaimer: i am not a lawyer; go see a lawyer for legal advice)

      July 6, 2014

  • Luan D.

    Hi guys, this question maybe off-topic but do you know if I can get a discount for 3DRobotics items anywhere? Any coupons? I am scratch-building a quad but I do not have much money so any discount will help greatly. Thank you.

    July 5, 2014

    • Luan D.

      So for example, if I want to use the free Mission Planner software from 3DRobotics, can that same software be used on 915Mhz ArduFlyer2.5.2 UAV System from RCTimer? How reliable is the board compared to APM 2.6 from 3DR?

      July 5, 2014

    • Christopher V.

      yes, Mission Planner and APM:Planner work fine with RCTimer ArduFlyer. It is reliable. I fly only with RCTimer ArduFlyer.

      July 5, 2014

  • CEASAR

    A must see of what a drone can do! WoW http://time.com/2957348/fireworks-drone/

    July 5, 2014

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