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5-Pound UAV Flies For 50 Minutes, Streams HD From Over 3 Miles

timothy posted about a year ago | from the so-much-better-than-model-rockets dept.

Canada 115

An anonymous reader writes "Looks like those guys from Aeryon Labs are at it again. Today they announced the SkyRanger a bigger brother to their Scout drone (the one that the Libyan rebels used back in 2011). This one claims flight time of close to an hour, streaming 1080p30 HD video, a range of over 3 miles and a camera that can shoot 15 Megapixel stills and thermal video simultaneously. Not only that but it pops out of a backpack and is ready to fly instantly. It ain't cheap, but it can fly at 40 mph!"

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First Post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43806627)

w00t

First nigger! (-1, Flamebait)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#43806931)

Nigger!

Bad guys (1, Funny)

zaft (597194) | about a year ago | (#43806659)

So what happens when the drug cartels get this?

Re:Bad guys (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43806713)

I'm surprised they don't already. It's much easier to build UAVs if you're not encumbered by stupid legal complications like intellectual property laws.

It's sort of like with gun control. Making it harder to get guns will only make it harder to legally get guns.

Re:Bad guys (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about a year ago | (#43808347)

This looks like a great project to develope on my 3D printer. Only maybe put a solar cell on top?

Re:Bad guys (1)

phrackthat (2602661) | about a year ago | (#43808609)

This looks like a great project to develope[sic] on my 3D printer. Only maybe put a solar cell on top?

It'd be a very poor tradeoff between power and payload. You'd need to increase the battery size and motor size to offset the increased weight from the solar cell and charging electronics. Both of the modifications will increase weight further and reduce your flight time more than the in-flight recharging could possibly increase it - not to the mention the loss of payload storage space for sensors. If you're looking to recharge in the field, just have a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery on the UAV with a large solar cell recharge unit carried by the pilot.

Re:Bad guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43809039)

On top of which, the weight penalty for 3-D printing makes these UAVs essentially non-operational. Printing a strong enough structure out of the plastic those printers use vs. carbon fiber composites and titanium or aluminum... Uh-uh. It won't fly for long.

Re:Bad guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43809313)

Nobody is saying you can't 3D print something and use it to form your carbon composite onto, or use it to mold your aluminum.

Re:Bad guys (1)

azav (469988) | about a year ago | (#43812985)

You'll need a much greater energy density for the solar cells. You can use the 50% ones that NASA uses in outer space that have a fresnel lens over the cell to increase efficiency per square inch.

Re:Bad guys (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#43808817)

Dude, they have submarines. There's no doubt they have UAVs.

Re:Bad guys (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#43806729)

not much, with that limited range and weight limit

Re:Bad guys (3, Informative)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#43807303)

And pretty easily trackable if they're broadcasting with enough power to send HD signals 3 miles.

Re:Bad guys (1, Interesting)

BlueStrat (756137) | about a year ago | (#43808307)

And pretty easily trackable if they're broadcasting with enough power to send HD signals 3 miles.

Tracking down radio-frequency sources, especially low-altitude, low-power, mobile transmitters, is not so easy. Just look at the equipment and infrastructure used by the British to track the RF signal emitted by TVs (for licensing fees/penalties) and pirate FM broadcasting stations. Even with all that equipment, manpower, and infrastructure, their track record is far from stellar.

It's not something that most local or even most State police forces will have. The Feds don't have the resources and manpower to cover everywhere. The FCC has very limited resources to track very small low-power mobile transmitters, especially in a tactical situation. It's not like many military or paramilitary units have the capabilities, either.

All that is also assuming that the target transmitter's operator(s) take no countermeasures/precautions or try to make the search more difficult.

I expect that the authorities will simply pass laws & enact regulations forbidding private citizens from operating all but the smallest, most primitive, limited functionality and performance drones without a Federal anal-probe and a metric buttload of cash.

Myself, I want a fast (over 100kph), armored drone with a range of 10 miles-plus, a stay-aloft time of over an hour, equipped with targeting optics and a fully-auto weapon, like an AR-180-type high rate-of-fire small-caliber weapon (can carry more .22mag rounds than 9mm, .40 cal, or similar). Or maybe just a single or even a pair of small HE rockets.

Strictly for keeping the coyotes, etc, at bay on the back-forty, of course. :)

Strat

Re:Bad guys (1)

troon (724114) | about a year ago | (#43811943)

Tracking down radio-frequency sources, especially low-altitude, low-power, mobile transmitters, is not so easy. Just look at the equipment and infrastructure used by the British to track the RF signal emitted by TVs (for licensing fees/penalties)

They used gullibility, which is much cheaper. There never were any functional TV detector vans.

Re:Bad guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43808803)

depends on the application: http://scandinavianstartups.com/blog/russian-drone-rc-helicopter-caught-smuggling-heroin

Re:Bad guys (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43806751)

Maybe drugs will finally be legalized, saving billions of $ and millions of families

Re:Bad guys (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43806993)

Ya, my family was positivily saved by crack and MDMA. What drugs saved your family?

Re:Bad guys (3, Informative)

MadMartigan2001 (766552) | about a year ago | (#43807205)

I believe he was referring to the so called "war on drugs" which has made criminals of countless thousands of individuals who choose to use recreational drugs such as pot but pose no threat to society.

Re:Bad guys (2)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#43808597)

Not to mention all the killings and violence that goes along with drugland warfare. Then there are the crime cartels created by the incredible profits.

Re:Bad guys (3, Funny)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about a year ago | (#43807211)

I don't know about you, but pot has made our family get-togethers murder-free at last! It's certainly a pleasant change from the whiskey massacre of Christmas '02.

Re:Bad guys (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#43807563)

> Ya, my family was positivily saved by crack and MDMA. What drugs saved your family?

Dude, even think-of-the-children central - Oprah is has been talking about the theraputic uses of MDMA. [oprah.com]

Re:Bad guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43808589)

Ya, my family was positivily saved by crack and MDMA. What drugs saved your family?

The drugs which rendered you sterile and thus unable to reproduce.

Re:Bad guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43807033)

Maybe drugs will finally be legalized, saving billions of $ and millions of families

Maybe drugs will finally be legalized, and throw a few hundred thousand War-on-Drug employees into the unemployment line.

Ain't it a bitch when greed and corruption create more jobs these days than any legitimate moral reason...

Re:Bad guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43811599)

Right... And everyone knows drugs can only enhance your career and family life. And, the money we save can be used to supplement the new health care system, which will pay to put you back together!

Re:Bad guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43806785)

Who? Who?

Who do you think? The Libyans!

Holy shit! [nytimes.com]

Re:Bad guys (3, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43807037)

The drone is extremely compact — the company says that it weighs about three pounds and fits into a backpack — and its operator does not need any knowledge of flight.

That's good, because most people fail horribly at throwing themselves at the ground and missing. Not even high bridges seem to help.

Re:Bad guys (1)

OhSoLaMeow (2536022) | about a year ago | (#43807795)

Who? Who?

Who do you think? The Libyans!

Holy shit! [nytimes.com]

They wanted me to build them a drone, so I took their plutonium and, in turn, gave them a shoddy drone casing full of used pinball machine parts.

Re:Bad guys (5, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#43806789)

The drug cartels have submarines, railroad tunnels, aircraft, and an army of expendable humans to move drugs. Why would they bother with a little drone with a small payload and a range of only 3 miles?

We should worry more about other bad guys, like oppressive governments, whose goals are less "move stuff somewhere" and more "control people everywhere".

Re:Bad guys (5, Insightful)

JackDW (904211) | about a year ago | (#43807331)

Hmm, seems to me that an oppressive government would probably start by legalising drugs. How better to control the population than by limiting their desire and ability to rise up in revolt? The best sort of slavery is voluntary. Why imprison the people, when you can get them to imprison themselves?

As an evil dictator, your first move should be to legalise as many drugs as you can get away with. This will win you a lot of popular support in the short term, and in the long term, the people who might have become well-educated and clever opposition leaders might instead end up as poorly-educated drug users with severe mental health problems. You may commence your evil laughter now.

Re:Bad guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43807381)

Because the people are more willing to give up their liberties in the name of security. Just look at boston's door to door house searches.
Even the 4th has been watered down by court rulings allowing police to search walled backyards & greenhouses without a warrant.

Re:Bad guys (2)

JackDW (904211) | about a year ago | (#43807463)

Not mutually exclusive. As an evil dictator, you can do both. Take away real liberties and real rights for "security", and simultaneously grant the freedom to take drugs. It will be easy to fool the people into thinking that they are getting a good deal here.

Re:Bad guys (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43807383)

Most people would just use marijuana, a safer alternative to alcohol. Your scenario sounds like the ravings of a drug warrior.

Re:Bad guys (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about a year ago | (#43807529)

Marijuana is not a real drug, though. I don't crave it. It's too powerful though, makes me lose my day or evening, makes me feel angry and oppressed around people, makes me smoke all my tobacco till I'm out of tobacco or paper.

If weed becomes legal (and cheaper by a factor of 20 or 50) then I may consume some of it at some times but most times I will not want it, thanks.

Re:Bad guys (1)

JackDW (904211) | about a year ago | (#43810487)

Now you mention it, "the ravings of a drug warrior" actually is a pretty good description of Huxley's "Brave New World"...

As an evil dictator I would not particularly care which drugs people took, or what they believed about the safety of those drugs. From my perspective, the effect would be the same - the people who might otherwise have resisted my power would happily stay at home instead.

Re:Bad guys (1)

pantaril (1624521) | about a year ago | (#43810463)

As an evil dictator, your first move should be to legalise as many drugs as you can get away with. This will win you a lot of popular support in the short term, and in the long term, the people who might have become well-educated and clever opposition leaders might instead end up as poorly-educated drug users with severe mental health problems.

I doubt it. More people are actualy dying on drug overdose because drugs are illegal and no consumer protection is in place. Drug users are never sure about the concentration of their stuff bought from some random guy on the street. If you legalised drugs proper identification of various drugs and their concentration would be required and fewer people would die as a consequence.

Re:Bad guys (1)

sudon't (580652) | about a year ago | (#43811043)

The only flaw in your plan is that few drugs cause mental health problems, (coke and speed can do this through sleep deprivation), and only enslave people under black market conditions. And even then, it's only a minority of users whose drug use becomes excessive, much as with alcohol. As you learn more and more about dictatorships, the one thing you begin to notice is how important "morals" are to them. They don't tolerate "deviance" of any sort. No dictator is going to legalize drugs because:

1.) drugs give people ideas

2.) dictators don't like to give up control over any aspect of other people's lives

But, clearly you've drunk the anti-drug Kool-Aid that we've all been fed over the years. You'll first need to free your enslaved mind to see this.

Re:Bad guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43811149)

Hmm, seems to me that an oppressive government would probably start by legalising drugs.

Not evil enough. Too passive. You're just waiting and hoping people would get addicted.

If you let the pesky free market do its thing it'll discover efficiencies, meaning the drugs would be fun but safe and wouldn't mess up your brains or motivation. No, you gotta intervene. They might even help expand people's minds and that would be dangerous to your regime.

So no, you gotta be proactive. You gotta promote and distribute drugs, ones which would get you the desired results

You know, just look at what they've done with television.

Re:Bad guys (1)

DigitAl56K (805623) | about a year ago | (#43806797)

They'll be able to see for up to 3 miles. Scary stuff. Law enforcement will also be able to track the signals from the UAVs.

Re:Bad guys (1)

azav (469988) | about a year ago | (#43812957)

Just what you expect.

Weapons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43806665)

I know I'll get modded down for this, but I can't resist as this just seems like a bad thing.

Aeryon Labs - arming islamic fundamentalist militants with cheap state of the art technology since 2011.

Re:Weapons? (2)

MadMartigan2001 (766552) | about a year ago | (#43807237)

Why would islamic fundamentalists want these? They prefer suicide bombers and standard weapons of warfare. The real people we need to worry about are the governments who will use this technology to "keep us safe".

Re:Weapons? (3, Funny)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about a year ago | (#43807625)

Stuff that islamic fighters like :
- satellite phones
- GPS, laptops with Google Earth or something
- cell phones - dirt cheap remote detonators, but can be used to communicate too
- social networks such as facefuck and twatter
- editing videos on a computer
- spherical geometry and basic astronomy to know when they have to pray and what direction to face
- building rockets in the yard

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43806743)

And it only costs $7.55

It ain't cheap? (5, Funny)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | about a year ago | (#43806745)

5 Pounds is incredible cheap i would say

Specs are overrated (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43806757)

AT 40 mhp the flight time is arond 13 mintes if they have a 5000mah Li-Poly battery on board.
It is 2 pounds, doubling the battery means losing payload.

Re:Specs are overrated (1)

anagama (611277) | about a year ago | (#43806803)

hmmm ... I don't see where it says it goes 40. It does say this:

40/55 mph (65/90 kph) sustained/gust wind tolerance,

which is clearly different than going 40mph.

Re: Specs are overrated (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43806883)

Arg cought by the summary.
My point is that the absolute maximum flighttime for electric UAVs is less than one hour, in a lab, draining the battery to death(literary).
In practice electric UAVs have a flight time of 12-25 minutes depending on payload.
Saying it will fly 50 minutes is just wrong.

Re: Specs are overrated (2)

dougmc (70836) | about a year ago | (#43807029)

Arg cought by the summary.
My point is that the absolute maximum flighttime for electric UAVs is less than one hour, in a lab, draining the battery to death(literary)

Um, no.

First, UAV is a mighty broad brush. An inexpensive electric glider with a motor on it and big battery can fly for literally hours -- without even using thermals or other lift, and they can increase it further -- and the battery will be just fine when you land, just recharge it.

Now, this is a multicopter -- far less efficient. Still, with good batteries, keeping the weight down as much as possible, and just sitting there (using as little power as possible) -- 50 minutes doesn't surprise me at all. And the battery will be ready to fly again after recharging it. (Though it's possible that they used non-rechargable batteries to last even longer for that specific test.)

In practice electric UAVs have a flight time of 12-25 minutes depending on payload. Saying it will fly 50 minutes is just wrong.

Most of the hobbyist multicopter models have flight times like that, yes -- we want something that's lively and fun to fly, and don't just want to hover there. But we could make something that lasts 50 minutes if we wanted to and didn't mind spending some money.

Re: Specs are overrated (1)

rsborg (111459) | about a year ago | (#43807339)

First, UAV is a mighty broad brush. An inexpensive electric glider with a motor on it and big battery can fly for literally hours -- without even using thermals or other lift, and they can increase it further -- and the battery will be just fine when you land, just recharge it.

Now, this is a multicopter -- far less efficient. Still, with good batteries, keeping the weight down as much as possible, and just sitting there (using as little power as possible) -- 50 minutes doesn't surprise me at all.

So this device will play the "Protoss" interceptor to the larger UAV's Carrier role? Imagine a large UAV that can launch these on demand, and then imagine if these can come back into the mothership to recharge ... [shudder]

Re:Specs are overrated (1)

dougmc (70836) | about a year ago | (#43806977)

hmmm ... I don't see where it says it goes 40. It does say this:

40/55 mph (65/90 kph) sustained/gust wind tolerance,

which is clearly different than going 40mph.

If the pilotless plane/multicopter cannot go faster than the sustained wind, it cannot tolerate it, as the plane won't be able to come back to its starting point -- it'll drift downwind no matter what it does, and you'll never see it again (unless you go looking for it.)

Still ... while 40 mph isn't much for a R/C plane, it sounds fast for a multicopter. But after looking it up, I guess it's not that exceptional after all [rcgroups.com] . Still, if you're going full throttle just to hover in the wind, you're probably going to greatly reduce your loiter time -- I wouldn't expect 50 minutes of flight time in that situation.

Re:Specs are overrated (1)

anagama (611277) | about a year ago | (#43807243)

That makes sense, although it assumes that when they say "tolerance" they mean it can hover in that kind of wind. They might just mean it can fly and not crash in that kind wind, with the inevitable drift. You would think if it could hit 40mph, they would have shown at least one such zoom in their video.

SPECS ARE CORRECT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43807857)

Nope. I own their current product, the Scout, and they are 100% honest with their specs. If this new UAV is anything like their old one, I can't wait to buy one! There are a lot of people out there that lie about their specs, but not these guys.

Re:Specs are overrated (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#43808627)

Max speed and duration are not generally used together when doing specifications. Everyone knows that range will be reduced the closer to max speed the item goes. Duration is usually calculated under standard operating conditions and not extremes.

Contradiction (5, Funny)

Ginger_Chris (1068390) | about a year ago | (#43806831)

5 pounds is dirt cheap. Not even enough to buy a pint in central London.

Re:Contradiction (1)

tag (22464) | about a year ago | (#43806963)

5 pounds is dirt cheap. Not even enough to buy a pint in central London.

No, no, no. The pound is a unit of mass.

Re:Contradiction (2)

ryanmt (2634725) | about a year ago | (#43807051)

If you are going to go "symantics" on him... you should probably declare "The pound is a unit of force or mass"

Re:Contradiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43807597)

Symantics???

Re:Contradiction (1)

drcheap (1897540) | about a year ago | (#43808021)

Symantec?

Re:Contradiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43809317)

Where good software goes to die!

Re:Contradiction (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43807061)

The pound is a unit of weight; weight varies based on gravity.
The kilogram is a unit of mass.

Your body mass is X kilograms. Your weight on earth, at position Y is Z pounds.

Re:Contradiction (1)

tag (22464) | about a year ago | (#43807305)

The pound is a unit of weight; weight varies based on gravity. The kilogram is a unit of mass.

Your body mass is X kilograms. Your weight on earth, at position Y is Z pounds.

Perhaps you meant the pound is a unit of force. "Weight" generally means the same thing, but not always.

However I was talking about the unit of mass. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pound_(mass) [wikipedia.org]

From the pix in TFA, I don't think the headline writer meant five of these https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pound#People_with_the_surname [wikipedia.org]

Re:Contradiction (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year ago | (#43808349)

No, no, no. The pound is a unit of mass.

Try again. The pound is a unit of *weight* (or force, since weight is a type of force).

Re:Contradiction (1)

Taggrip (1780596) | about a year ago | (#43808857)

No. You are all wrong. A pound is a unit of punches to the face.

Re:Contradiction (1)

dcw3 (649211) | about a year ago | (#43812679)

I've been waiting for the obligatory "pound sand".

I only read the title, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43807031)

Who would want a UAV that only goes 3.6 miles per hour?

Re:I only read the title, but... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43807069)

Who would want a UAV that only goes 3.6 miles per hour?

Uhm...the Montgolfier brothers, perchance?

An ad? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43807067)

Is this an ad? There's no story to go with it, just links to their website...

And even then, says it's expensive, but doesn't give a price. WTF slashdot? How much did they pay for this?

Re:An ad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43808185)

You mean like every product launch? When Samsung launches a phone. That's Called news.

HD Video is all well and good... (1)

ATestR (1060586) | about a year ago | (#43807085)

But what kind of armaments is it equipped with?

Re:HD Video is all well and good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43807157)

Uhm... the camera is the only arms we are going to be left with, or rather, the last one they will try to take away.

Re:HD Video is all well and good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43810095)

Yup, if I cannot drop a flour bomb on my neighbour's old frogs party, then it isn't worth the trouble to fly it.

Good for.. (1)

houbou (1097327) | about a year ago | (#43807155)

Rescues.. but once these puppies have camouflage and/or stealth capabilities, they better not get in the hands of criminals and/or terrorists.

Just another $1000 hammer (2)

DeathGrippe (2906227) | about a year ago | (#43807183)

Quad copters with these capabilities and better can be purchased by ordinary people for a few hundred $$ from several hobby vendors. There is no excuse for charging as much as these guys do, other than they are selling to military and gov't agencies who don't care what they spend.

Re:Just another $1000 hammer (4, Informative)

s2jcpete (989386) | about a year ago | (#43807259)

Stabilized video gimbals with thermal capabilities are not a few hundred dollars.

Re:Just another $1000 hammer (1)

DeathGrippe (2906227) | about a year ago | (#43807419)

The video gimbal for that particular quad copter costs extra.

But anyway, here's one for about $40.  It can be gyro stabilized on 3 axes through the flight controller.
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__24714__Camera_Gimbal_Tilt_Mount_for_Bumblebee_Quadcopter_Frame.html

Re:Just another $1000 hammer (1)

s2jcpete (989386) | about a year ago | (#43808249)

Sure, I know you can get gimbals cheaper, but what about the thermal HD camera? haha

Re:Just another $1000 hammer (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#43807845)

Not to mention - it's generally the hobbyists that don't care (as much as the military). The military buys gears that's got to be packed and unpacked and shipped across the country or around the world (sometimes many times over the life of the gear), has to operate in all kinds of weather, etc... etc... The hobbyist looks out his window and if it's freezing or raining he just goes and plays WoW or works on his next project or whatever.

Re:Just another $1000 hammer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43808327)

Where can you get a cheap 5lb thermal camera these days?

Re:Just another $1000 hammer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43807403)

Where can I find an ordinary quadcopter that costs less than $400 and can fly that long, that fast, and carry that much payload? (I don't need the speed, but I could not find an affordable quadcopter with significant flight duration and payload capacity.)

Re:Just another $1000 hammer (1)

DeathGrippe (2906227) | about a year ago | (#43807793)

Flight duration depends on how much payload you need to carry vs how large your battery can be.  The larger quad copters at Hobbyking.com could easily fly that long with large enough batteries, and can also carry miniature video cameras.  With a 433mhz 1watt transmitter and receiver (<$500, FCC license required) you could control it out to about 40 miles.

Re:Just another $1000 hammer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43808313)

Flight duration depends on how much payload you need to carry vs how large your battery can be.

You didn't answer the question. I'd like to see one also.

Re:Just another $1000 hammer (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year ago | (#43808365)

A few hundred dollars will get you a quadcopter that flies for ten minutes, flies at about half the speed of this, and won't carry anything like its payload, and you'll have to supply any payload yourself.

Re:Just another $1000 hammer (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#43808555)

I always love people who do not understand the difference between a toy and a piece of equipment that one's life may rely on. A toy can break down and one loses a bit of fun. A vital piece of equipment breaks down on the battlefield and people can die.

Here are some things that increase prices of military gear.
1. Higher specifications. They must operate in much greater temperature and weather ranges. This causes the components to need to be much more rugged.
2. Higher damage resistance needed. If you toy breaks you go buy another one at the store. If it breaks on the battlefield there are no replacements.
3. Lower quantities. Consumer products are run off in batches of thousands and economy of scale makes a big difference.
4. Higher capabilities. This quad copter uses GPS plotting to fly. The operator sets the altitude and position on the plot and the copter goes there. This is not an RC toy where the operator directly flies the drone. High resolution IR cameras are expensive. The gimbals you cited are only tilt and not pan. Most transmitters do not have a 3 mile range with such high bandwidth.
5. More testing to ensure it can survive the battlefield.

If you think it is expensive try comparing apples to apples. If you can find a quad copter with the same capabilities at this one for a lower price I would applaud but I doubt very much you can.

I agree that there have been many stupid military procurement but the knee jerk reaction that every expensive project is overpriced is not valid.

i'd kill for 50! (1)

TheRealQuestor (1750940) | about a year ago | (#43807245)

I'm all happy when my hexacopter gets me 10 minutes in the air!

Empire Strikes Back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43807247)

Reminds me a bit of the imperial probe droid that Luke Skywalker destroyed in Empire.

Pricey little toy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43807417)

I live in Waterloo (home of Aeryon) and attended a presentation about their Scout drone. That little guy goes for $120,000 (not kidding!). I wonder what its new big brother costs?

How do you know it ain't cheap? (2)

felipou (2748041) | about a year ago | (#43807613)

Where can we see the price?

(forgive my incompetence if it is easily found)

Not so staggering. (1)

hamster_nz (656572) | about a year ago | (#43807673)

Flying drones outside of visual range is illegal where I live, so I would not be able to say anything if I was to have have seen HD footage filmed from a home-built fixed wing drone that has flown on autopilot for 60 minutes, at 60km/hr and then landed back at the starting point entirely on autopilot.

Re:Not so staggering. (1)

les_91406 (2001206) | about a year ago | (#43810009)

Recording HD video on a Quadcopter for later transfer after landing (using a Hero camera for example) is much easier than sending HD video back to the operator in real time from 3 miles away. In fact an HD video link with a range of more than 100 feet is not a hobby-level device. I would expect the military version to be encrypted as well (our guys don't want the other guys to see what we are looking at).

nice "aryan" labs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43808235)

praise hitler and pass the next slashvertisement.

(wow these guys are even better than that 88 nonsense -- *no one* will figure out their secret hate!)

(Nice troll job btw, Timothy)

Metric (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43809869)

5-Pound 2.268 kg
3 miles 4.828 km
40 mph 64.3738 km/h

Re:Metric (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year ago | (#43810119)

Holy ridiculous increase in significant figures batman!

Binoculars are better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43810085)

The problem is that over a distance of 3 miles, a good pair of binoculars work better than these toy drones. It is only once you get to 50 miles and 10,000 feet elevation that you have something useful.

Battery lifetime... (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | about a year ago | (#43810489)

It can stay in the air for almost an hour?!? My ARDrone battery lasts for about 1/5 of that time. If possible, I'd happily pay a bit extra for a longer lasting battery for my flyer.

speaking of drugs (1)

tbonefrog (739501) | about a year ago | (#43810563)

I've been watching for the unmanned aerial technology to develop sufficiently so they could eliminate TV helicopters from the Tour de France and other televised bicycle races, before the inevitable flaming crash, and also so that the energy use is more in line with what the riders are outputting. With a UAV they could also eliminate those pesky motorcycles (not all of them, just the TV ones the riders draft off of) and get some great new angles.

Now, if we eliminate the team cars and replace them with slightly larger unmanned helicopters capable of carrying a mechanic or spare parts....

Or, can a robot riderless domestique be far behind?

Paparazzi (1)

DarthVain (724186) | about a year ago | (#43811931)

Would be the likely market for these I think.

50 Minutes and 3 miles doesn't really sound like enough time or distance for military or police operations really.

However if you know of some celebrities sunbathing nude in a secure compound...

Fits into a backpack eh? So you can sneak right up to the edge of someones property to launch, get all the shots you need to hit pay dirt, and get out before anyone can locate you. Privacy folks are going to have a field day with this... Or high end gated communities with small scale AA guns...

Re:Paparazzi (1)

froth-bite (2777385) | about a year ago | (#43812001)

Quad 'Rotor Online Watchers...otherwise known as crows.

How much is "ain't cheap"? (1)

azav (469988) | about a year ago | (#43813207)

Really. Don't post that it's expensive and then not list the price.

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