SCOUT is one of the smallest folding quadcopters that contains all the features of their bigger siblings. Using a PXFmini flight controller mounted on a Raspberry Pi Zero, it has GPS waypoint navigation capability, the ability to utilize machine vision and machine learning to help carry out missions (such as identifying points of interest in search and rescue operations) and will even have the option to carry a FLIR camera, as well as radio repeater equipment.
There is no smaller quadcopter with this capability. 8.5 inches in length, 5 inches in width, and under 1" tall, SCOUT can fit in most bag pockets and mag pouches. SCOUT has an estimated flight time of about 22 minutes (and with some custom motors, it could do more) utilizing a custom LG HG2 cell modular battery with integrated Battery Management Circuit, the packs can be charged with any 12.6v 0.5-4a CC/CV charger. No special balance charger needed. Weighing in at just over a pound, it can be with you anywhere, anytime.
3D Printed Parts Kit
Printed in ABS preferably. Its flex helps its survivability
I'm currently using 2206 2000Kv motors, but intend to use smaller, more efficient 1806 motors.
I'm currently using 5030 Carbon Fiber props, but intend to use 5020 folding props, if I can find them. More efficient
or more 3s batteries.
I'm using my custom LG HG2 cell packs, made of 3ea LG HG2 Cells and a BMS
SCOUT has been a fairly simple build, however I'm striving for near perfection as far as CAD files and internal wiring is concerned, so it has taken longer than most of my personal quad builds. I'm also working on some issues with SCOUT's firmware. Once those are sorted, we'll be ready for a flight test, and Ill release the CAD files as FOSS, as well as any mods or upgrades I may make.
Starting out, there will be a single wide angle daylight camera on it. However I intend to swap this with a NoIR camera and high intensity IR LEDs, and add a FliR Lepton with the option to overlay that feed on the IR/daylight video for contextual awareness.
To my knowledge, SCOUT is more advanced than most similar class military quadcopters currently deployed (however not as rugged, of course.) And I only intend to make it a bit smaller and more efficient yet :)
So, Ive been wanting to try an 18650 cell based quad build for a while. 18650 Lithium Ion cells are far safer than LiPo packs, and some are more energy dense as well. The problem comes in getting the power out of the cells, or the C rating. Most cant cope. However 3000mah LG HG2 cells have a rated continuous output of 20a. 3 in series, and you get a 33wh pack, with a ~220w continuous, ~385w peak discharge. This is pretty darn good, given its ~145g weight. For SCOUT, I have added an integrated balance circuit to make charging easier (just plug into a 3d printed dock or 12.6v wall wart), as well as added a hard case, to make transport and installation quick and simple as well. No connectors or cables to fiddle with.
While SCOUT is intended to be a long endurance UAS, at least by micro quad standards, its not intended to be long range. It will be operating using 2.4ghz WiFi for telemetry, control, and FPV (with a standard 2.4ghz radio as a backup, of course)
However if longer range is desired, yagi antennas are your friend :)
This whole kit can easily be carried in your average laptop bag, with relative ease. I will be putting together a custom all in one control unit, and it could also be flown via a laptop or smart phone.
I still need to put a somewhat proper debug kit together for projects like this. Something compact and neat...my desk all too often looks like this:
The PXFmini is an interesting and *very* capable flight controller, however it has its quirks, and Im still putting together an image to make initial setup a breeze. Theres often a couple hours spent setting up a new image in each time, so I'm working to make an easily deployable image, to remove/reduce time spent on it.
SCOUTs chassis has already gone through many iterations, to help make ease of assembly (and more importantly, disassembly/repairs) a breeze. My goal is to be able to print the chassis, and using a set kit of hardware, assemble it. No need to modify or post process the printed parts, come up with custom hardware, etc. Print. Build. Fly.