The 3Force will be able to fit any role currently filled by drones today. Filming, Racing, Transport, etc. The list goes on. It could also be scaled up during production and used for Search and Rescue operations, and the delivery of supplies to remote areas in need. It has the potential to be used by everyone, from police forces chasing down criminals on the run, charities delivering medicine to inaccessible or hard-to-reach communities, and everyday people exploring the world around them through the endless limits of technology.
A particularly interesting use I believe the 3Force will be the first to specifically allow by design is a drop-away or detachable cargo pod on the underside, which can be used for any small-item delivery application.
The mount point for the pod(s) will also allow for an interchanging range of components, i.e. manipulators, cameras, sensor suites, and spotlights for an ever increasing range of purposes.
2018 Hackaday Prize - Challenges Addressed
As an entry to the 2018 Hackaday Prize, Round 1, I have decided to address two problems facing the world today: the delivery of medicine over impassable terrain or to remote locations, and the problems of reforestation and rehabilitation of natural areas. The cargo pod system mentioned above is what allows this.
For delivery of medicines, a properly lined drop pod can be delivered safely to the hands of those in need through one of two methods. Either the pod will have an attached parachute that opens after the drop, or the 3Force can land, safely detach the pod, and then lift off to ensure delivery in windy conditions.
To address reforestation, a similar system will be used. In particular, the 3Force will be able to fly over remote areas and drop seeds in order to facilitate reforestation and rehabilitation of wild areas. A specially designed cargo pod can act like a bombing bay, for lack of a better analogy, to allow a fly-over of an area and the spreading of seeds without the need to land or have humans on the ground causing unnecessary harm to the ecosystems present, essentially creating a footprint-less system.
But why 3 rotors? What makes this better than any drone currently in production today?
A 3 rotor layout, by design, is easier to stabilize and has significantly less drag than a standard 4 or 6 rotor layout. It is also cheaper to produce, based on the fact that it has less motors and therefore less total required circuitry. The reduction in motors also means that more channels of the receiver are open for use by other functions, e.g. manipulators, gimbals, and the aforementioned cargo pods. This is compounded by the use of an onboard processor system, as there only needs to be one port of the receiver dedicated to controlling thrust, instead of the typical 3/4/6 for controlling the rotors individually.
Furthermore, the ability to tilt all 3 of the rotors will enable further reduction in drag, and aid in the overall stabilization of the craft. Admittedly, the rotors will need to be larger or more powerful than those on a typical drone in order to achieve the same amount of thrust for the craft overall, introducing the problem of power requirements, but this is a problem I hope to be able to smooth out rather easily during the prototyping phase.
Originally, I intended to create a custom control interface for this craft due to the unique design and flight capabilities. After further review, I decided that it would be easier to just have pre-programmed maneuvers and responses, allowing the 3Force Proto to be controlled by any standard hobby controller with the required number of channels. That said, I have not abandoned the idea of a custom controller entirely; I have simply...Read more »