Build Your Own UAV

February 6th, 2009 | researchmaterial

Matt Jones just pointed me at this. This is insane in its implications:

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…

Sobering. Yeah. When Jamais Cascio saw this, he commented that 4th Generation Warfare expert John Robb would go nuts with this. Putting the technology to fly your own UAV on the street is potentially explosive. Probably quite literally. There are obviously art/media applications, as well as net applications, but the first things that occurred to me were surveillance and strike…


8 Responses to “Build Your Own UAV”

  1. Well, there goes the model airplane hobby.

  2. So you obviously need your own little squadron of UAVs armed for UAV-suppression orbiting your home at all times. Actually, now that I’ve written that down… I like the idea!

  3. John Robb actually did mention this, not long ago.
    http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2009/01/gg-radar-mid-january.html

  4. Same price range but more useful as death drones and engineered by crazy germans(!):
    http://www.mikrokopter.de/ucwiki/en/MikroKopter

  5. There goes all of my spare cash. Death drones… must have death drones…

  6. Then add this bit from Sterling a week or so ago, about fabbing all the parts to build a RC helicopter…
    http://blog.wired.com/sterling/2009/01/he-fabricated-a.html

  7. Now my neighbors cats truly have a reason to fear me.

  8. This is a total misunderstanding. The sum of all autopilot components is around 300…400USD + plane, and then the most important part, fully debugged and working autopilot. And this is NOT available for free (it is not there, simply).
    We are talking here about 500-1000USD minimum for the simplest flying ‘things’ that reach nearby crop filed with 90% probability, this is the actual state of the art.
    Supposing that the price will ‘halve next year’ is like supposing that the tire’s price will halve, since we account here components like GPS for 20…40USD.