A gas powered quadcopter capable of autonomously picking up and delivering a payload of 50 pounds.
Four senior mechanical engineering students at San Jose State University, California are designing and developing an autonomous gas-powered quadcopter, Incredible HLQ (Heavy Lift Quadcopter), for their final project, a world first.
Nick Conover, Chris Fulmer, Carlos Guerrero, and Gabriel Tellez have combined their skills through their studies to design the autonomous quadcopter that can carry a payload of up to 50 pounds. With four rotors, the quadcopter can efficiently carry the weight without giving way to any side. One of the biggest obstacles put before the students was the unavailability of ‘off the shelf’ rotors, meaning they had to improvise and construct their own rotors that could carry the weight of 50 pounds.
The quadcopter is unmanned, relying on Ardupilot, an open source Arduino Board which is part of the vehicle’s body and is responsible for its autonomous flight, and will use ultrasonic sensors to safely descend and land.
The quadcopter has a wealth of possibilities if fully realised, beyond the prototype stage. Most notably, HLQ could be used to deliver provisions to disaster areas. For example, the four students reckon the quadcopter could carry one gallon on a 30 minute flight. If successful and funded for further research and development, the new quadcopter could potentially carry greater weights on longer journeys.
Incredible HLQ (pronounced Hulk, after the comic book character) is still in its prototype phase, with the students continuing to work on the lift’s fine tuning. The guys are still seeking the necessary funding to complete the project and recently completed a Kickstarter campaign.