possible suitors for the Black Bat's brain upgrade. A Flyport
module was once used, having received successful
programming for a PoC mission. The computer brain did
not possess the necessary storage, however, for extended
It is critical to the quad rotor's list of capabilities that it
produce in-flight data transmissions. The required solutions
to make that happen were mass removable storage, Wi-Fi,
and GSM connectivity. An Android computer was selected
due to its low cost and practicality.
The Android-based application completes a number of
tasks around data retrieval using varying protocols. The
mission computer connects to wireless hotspots to transmit
and retrieve important mission data. The computer is
sufficiently advanced to use 3G and 4G networks.
This way, the robot has multiple options for connecting
to the Internet based on range and location. This also
means that real time access to GPS and other data that
typical Android-based devices track becomes possible. The
computer placement at the bottom of the robot ensures
quality photography of the ground below it. The growing
Android platform should prove a sound investment for
more broadly automated missions in coming years.
The researchers hope the mission computer will enable
an easily configured environment, adaptable to many
different mission scenarios. Development of the Android
application will continue to be a major focal point of the
project, and the versatility and usability of the application
will be constantly improved as new ideas and applications
are discovered, as explained by the QuadForge researchers.
Black Bat Weatherization
For a weather recon robot, it was an obstacle that the
Black Bat could not fly in bad conditions — which was due
to the fact that the electronics were exposed to the
By using 3D printing and design using CAD software as
eluded to, the team developed and printed protective
encapsulations for each of the electronic components. The
team will use dielectric gels to fill in where the
encapsulations do not fully cover the robot's electronics.
The team has also designed and created a case for the
telemetry module. The team designed this case to protect
the module and provide access by probe to check the
function of the components.
Dielectric gel selection was challenging. The majority of
12 SERVO 03.2014
The QuadForge Project
QuadForge Photo Gallery
QuadForge Video Gallery
Interaction between the Black Bat
quad rotor VTOL UAV and its operator.