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Long Tail Micro-Drones

$25 Arduino-based UAV Controller

Our first commercial autopilot, the Arduino-compatible ArduPilot, has been released and our goal of taking an order or two of magnitude out of the cost of an autopilot has been achieved: it's $24.95!

Combined with a RC plane, this makes it easy to build a complete UAV for less than $500, which is really kind of amazing. As exciting as that it is, it's also sobering to know that a technology that was just a few years ago the sole domain of the military is now within the reach of amateurs, so we spend a lot of time educating our community on FAA regulations and safe and responsible flying (always under 400 feet, stay within line of site, pilot always able to regain control).

The person behind this is Chris "Long Tail" Anderson, who designed this along with his now 11-year-old kid.

Global guerilla implications are kind of obvious; what I want to see are suggested uses for amateur science, environmental monitoring, or other tasks that don't end up involving high-explosives.

Open the Glossary:
Arduino -- inexpensive general-purpose computing platform, open-source in hardware specs and easily programmed with commonplace software tools.
UAV -- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, a pilotless drone flyer able to follow a path without real-time guidance from a human.


Well the 8 year old boy in me wants to play
1.) Flying Robot Wars
2.) a UAV version of Quidditch (the Harry Potter broomstick sport)

Virtual flying would be really cool if you had video goggles that showed you the view from the UAV and you controlled the plane with hand (and arm) gestures.

If the information that a UAV gathers has spacial and temporal tags you can upload it to a Mirror Earth and create a really impressive historical record. (and provide inputs to Simulated Earths)

The UAV's can also be though of as delivery devices in general ( a transportation system that does not need roads or rails would be far less expensive to create and maintain. )

Well, they certainly are a delivery system now.

Virtual flying was my first thought.

Short-distance package delivery.


Rapidly adding finer 3D data to Google Earth.

Updating a simulated real world for accurate virtual projection into shared AR layers.

Flocking behavior experiments.

Emergency response.

I don't think any real terrorist-loving engineer needed to wait on a hacker to make this.

How will cops, who are arguably conservative in their strategies, catch a killer who uses two mobile phones he bought in some other city, to log into a remote operated rifle and commit murder? That scenario is trivially easy in several years.

Same - what if homes of vulnerable, old people are pilfered from valuables? What do cops do? Ten years away.

Chris has been doing DiyDrones.com for quite some time now. There's been some extremely low cost balloons aerials already, the BlimpDuino.


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