The Black Bat
Has a Purpose
MCCC has already delivered four quad rotor UAVs to
the Suisse Government, which is
using these to survey and deliver
data between weather stations.
The goal of the Swiss quad rotor
UAV deployment is to aid in
predicting potential disasters
such as landslides.
The quad rotor research
team consisting of students and
teachers updates the quad
rotor UAVs as often as possible.
This last school term, new
features included the application
of a nanotechnology coating to
enable flight in any environment
(i.e., salt, water, snow).
Multiple new iterations of
the quad rotor UAVs are in
development at MCCC, with
new functionalities planned for
each. New abilities will include
transitioning to an open source
ground station through the use
of customized programing;
developing a "follow me" and
"learn mode" by connecting the
GPS on the quad with the
ground station; and designing
and printing (via 3D printer) cover components to provide
an outer housing.
QuadForge Bot Date 2013:
The Year of the Black Bat
Last year, the QuadForge open source research project
produced several updates to the "Black Bat" quad rotor
VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) UAV. The upgrades
included better electronics and avionics technologies for the
third-generation modules for the robot. The team switched
to updated LiPo batteries with greater power capacity.
The team also found and tested more efficient
propellers and motors, and redesigned its top plate by using
the MCCC's 3D printer which enabled the researchers to
elongate the available top plate space. The team also added
a First Person View (FPV) camera to send live video streams
to both the ground control's mission planner and a
secondary video monitor.
The new mission computer is an Android-based device.
The onboard electronics and radio and video components
are sealed with a silicone gel for waterproofing. The robot
also now employs a hydrophobic vapor-deposited process to
repel water, sea mist, and other harmful liquids. These new
technologies have produced a quad rotor capable of
performing extended autonomous outdoor flight missions
under harsh weather and atmospheric conditions.
As mentioned, the Black Bat has a broader surface area
for mounting components for operation and observation.
All avionics and devices on the Black Bat have housings to
ensure component safety and durability. From the FPV
system to the Android powered mission computer, the Black
Bat has everything it needs to complete many missions,
according to the Quad Rotor researchers.
The Black Bat mission computer enables increasing
flight performance and Wi-Fi, 3G, or 4G connectivity at the
same time. The computer also enables real time access to
GPS data and potentially 30+ Gigs of data storage. The
QuadForge research team tested many computers as
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The Black Bat hovering.