For Ivan Tolchinsky and Igor Zhydanov, a desire to deploy a fully autonomous, compact drone capable of high altitude flights in howling winds and pelting snow led to the Erida, the latest crowdfunded drone project on Indiegogo.
The $85,000 project is aiming for the mid-range market ($799 early-bird retail) for a carbon fiber copter folds into a nicely designed bag for easy travel.
“We wanted to find a fully autonomous drone, compact enough to be packed in a bag and easily portable, but, at the same time, to be able to work at high altitudes in conditions of low temperatures and strong wind, moving at a speed up to 90 km/h,” Tolchinsky said.
“We were unable to find such a drone and… set out to build a copter meeting all our requirements. Model-makers know too well that at low temperatures batteries either fail immediately or run down very quickly. At the height of 4000 m the atmospheric density is 40% lower that at the sea level. All the above made our goal an engineering challenge,” he added.
Erida is a hands-free drone, requiring a simple tap on a smart device interface to launch and film with an onboard gimbal for GoPro or Yi Cam devices. The “intelligent flight controller” will correct for erratic motion during flight, keeping your camera still.
Tolchinsky and Zhydanov’s company Aerospace Engineer has not only developed flight apps for Android devices, iPhones and iPads but has now introduced a smartwatch app.
With a flight time of 35 minutes, Erida can reach top speeds of 50 mph and a maximum altitude of 4,200 meters. Users can opt for an RC controller or use a smart device. Aerospace also included a LIDAR laser scanner provide stability and safety at low altitudes below 40 meters. Pilots can also upload maps to help avoid dangerous areas and recognize the location of buildings and other structures.
Tolchinsky said that, after testing and designing a prototype, he and his partner were once again ready to test Erida in mountain conditions.
“After our trip we realized that we had created a truly worthy apparatus and considered it our duty to share our achievement with others,” he said. “We did our best to enable any person, even without any piloting experience, to shoot with ease and get a beautiful footage of his/her activities.”
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
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