UAV PLATFORM

UAV

SPECS:

Performance Specs:

Weight (g) (w/ 2x lipo):

Base: 5382

Real Time Config: 6347

Mapping Config: 6157

Flight Time(mins): 20-35

------------------------------------

Climb Rate: 6.9

Max Speed (mph) : 24

Thrust to Weight Ratio: 2.4 : 1

Throttle % at Hover: 56

------------------------------------

50% Throttle Motor Specs:

Amps: 4.2

Watts: 93.24

Efficiency (g/w): 10.08

Thrust(g): 940

-----------------------------------

Hardware Specs:

Power System: Lithium Ion 10k 22.4v 10 - 25c (6s) x 2 / 3

Motors: 370kv

Props: 15x5in

Autopilot: Ardupilot

Flight GPS: M8N

RTK GPS: UAV RTK GPS w/ GCS correction via telemetry. 

Telemetry Modem: 900mhz RX/TX

Receiver: 433mhz

Power Sensor: True hall sensor

Power supplies:  Redundant flight system power supplies

Embedded Computing: Single-board linux pc w/ real time OS image. 

Data Link: Long range 2.4ghz modem

Antennas: Circular polarization (telemetry, data, video)

Video: 900mhz w/ on screen telemetry.

Barometer: External petot tube system

Landing Gear: Retractable

Autopilot & Sensors:

Open source autopilot & software is used to control autonomous missions requiring highly accurate flight patterns.

The data from a true hall current sensor protects lipos from damage and enables power scaling to increase flight performance.

Barometer readings are taken via a pitot tube outside the low pressure zone near the props, giving accurate altimeter readings.

The flight GPS and compass are moved away from the high RF noise of the autopilot, producing quality position data.

RTK GPS System:

A Real Time Kinematic GPS system is used for pin point accuracy both in data collection and general flight.

The RTK GPS system uses two GPS modules, one on the ground and the second on the sUAS communicate via telemetry data stream and generate a highly accurate position readings.

Radios & Antennas:

We use the highest quality radios for telemetry, manual control, video, and data link.

Our platform is capable of flight well beyond line of sight and behind objects. This increases safety in case of an emergency where we must maneuver into an area that would impede radio communication with the sUAS.

Our circular polarized antennas eliminate most interference in high RF areas such as cities. Their unique properties increase range and reliability.

Motors & Power:

High efficiency motors are used to extend flight time and provide stable flight characteristics.

Our motors are easily maintained to insure they are always at peak performance.

A fully soldered power distribution system from motor to ESC reduces failure points & resistance.

Redundancy & Safety:

Our platform uses 8 motors in a coaxial formation to produce a highly stable aircraft. With traditional "flat" format uavs like quads and hexas, the loss of a motor will cause an immediate crash. The coaxial format can lose motors and still be safely piloted. 

We are able to operate in high wind without significant effect on the flight pattern.

Redundant power supplies, lipos, and GPS receivers insure our platform remains operational even in the case of a hardware malfunction. 

We use multiple software fail-safes to insure safe operation in the event of lipo failure and radio signal loss.

Ultra-Light Modular Air-Frame:

Our air-frame is designed to keep the aircraft as light as possible without sacrificing rigidity.

Full carbon fiber construction produces an ultra light air-frame.

Our modular quick connect payloads can be combined to suit the needs of the mission. 

The retractable legs act as antenna mounts moving the antennas away from the high RF environment of the main body, increasing radio transmission quality.

Made in the USA / Professional Quality Assurance:

Our platforms are custom built and perfectly tuned at our facilities in Ventura, CA.

Every UAV build is subject to rigorous QA standards.

We use CNC machines to fabricate our in house designed air frames. 

Our UAVs are assembled by hand, from solder joints to balancing our aircraft are of the highest quality.

Open Source Ecosystem:

We use open source software to allow for a flexible and affordable system. The software projects we support are under active development, insuring we always are on the cutting edge of software capability. 

 

 

 

 

 

GROUND STATION

SPECS:

Antenna Array:

Frequency: 900mhz & 2400mhz 

Antennas: Circular polarized 10dBi diversity

Beam Width: 220 degrees

GPS: RTK base corrections module

LAN: 5800mhz wireless / gigabit ethernet

Tripod: 9ft

Power Supply: 12v & 16v

RX / TX : Data, video & telemetry diversity / sector radio system.

-----------------------------------------

GCS Laptop:

Processor: 2.6ghz quad core intel

Ram: 8GB

Hard Drive: 120GB SSD

Interface: Touchscreen / keyboard / stylus

Batteries: Dual hot swap

-----------------------------------------

Transmitter:

Controller: Opentx based system

TX: 433mhz

-----------------------------------------

 

Display: Android tablet / video digitizer

Not Just a Drone:

Without the proper equipment on the ground a drone is of little use. Our platform is a complete system that includes everything you need to generate highly accurate and actionable data.  

Antenna Array: 

Our antenna array uses hand build circular polarized directional antennas. Circular polarization eliminates most RF interference because most RF noise is  horizontally polarized, circular antennas do not pickup the signals produced by horizontally polarized antennas. This is a huge benefit in high RF urban areas and increases range in all cases. Circular polarized antenna reception is excellent during banking. Horizontal polarized antennas tend to drop out in similar positions. 

Our array acts much like an cell tower (segment antennas). We use two large panels each with a 110 degree beam width. The 220 degree total beam width allows us a large working area for flights. 

We use a combination of 900mhz & 2400mhz frequencies. Both frequencies can be used for video or data. This configuration gives excellent flexibility in transmission options. 

Our antenna array has an integrated antenna mast that houses the RTK GPS base module. It lifts the GPS antenna high up above obstructions and away from possible RF interference sources. A 4G modem is used to gain position corrections from NTRIP resources when available. This system produces cm accurate positioning for flights requiring precision flight pattern.  

Ruggedized Design: 

The components necessary for the GCS are build into IP 76 water resistant, climate controlled, cases. The cases have filtered high flow air systems, quick connect RF connectors, and rugged power and data cables. This system allows for fast consistent setups and keeps the sensitive components in ideal environmental conditions. The whole GCS is mounted on a reinforced survey tripod that extends the antennas up to 9ft improving signal reception. 

Ground Control Computer: 

A Panasonic Toughbook is used for the ground control system. This system is the interface which is used to monitor and control the sUAS.

With a touchscreen, hot-swap batteries, SSD, a strong processor, and lots of RAM, this system is well suited for running the ground control software and associated programs. 

Two video digitizers are built into the GCS so the in flight video can be seen on a standard android tablet. 

 

Manual Control Transmitter: 

We utilize a top of the line 433mhz transmitter coupled with a controller running open source firmware.

The signal penetration and range of our 433mhz transmitter is unparalleled. With a range measured in miles even through obstructions full control of the sUAS is guaranteed. 

The controller is used for invoking autonomous missions/functions as well as manual controlled flights. 

Processing & Hosting: 

Our ground control platform also includes a powerful server to run the open source software needed to processes maps and host data for analysis in the field. 

We utilize the electrical system in a modified Prius to power our ground control station and server.

The data we collect is stored in a local private cloud that is accessible to everyone via a pop-up wifi network we setup at the launch site. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMAGING

Optimized For Flight:

We modify cameras & gimbals to suit the demands of aerial imaging in house, adding functionality with hardware/software mods, and reducing weight. Dust proofing, external power mods, & software hacks are some of the modifications we implement to improve the usability and functionality of our imaging sensors.

 

Gimbals:

VTA DRONES designs and fabricates its own gimbals for our UAV platform. We do a full carbon fiber construction with quick disconnect and modular design. The gimbals are designed for use with multiple cameras with a flexible COG. Wiring harness includes serial data lines, built in camera trigger, and power supplies for gimbal components and camera. We use open source controllers and high quality IMU sensors. Our gimbals are designed for heavy use and the demands of aerial imaging in mind.

 

Mapping Camera Specs:

Sensor Type: 12.1 megapixel, 1/2.3-inch CMOS

Total Pixels: Approx. 12.8 megapixels

Focal Length: 4.5 (W) - 90.0 (T) mm (35mm film equivalent: 25-500mm)

Aperture: f/3.5 (W) - f/6.8 (T)

Shutter Speed: 1-1/3200 sec.

Exposure Control: ISO 100/200/400/800/1600/3200

Modifications: Custom Software, Shutter trigger & sensor, External power, UV / dust lens

Mapping:

Our mapping cameras are configured for the collection of 100’s of HD images that we post process into large maps of the target area. We use advanced techniques to remotely trigger cameras during flight at very precise intervals and record shutter data. The images taken and data collected during the flight is processed with software after the flight to generate maps with amazing accuracy and clarity. Think google maps but you can zoom down all the way to the ground. We can generate cm accurate maps, 3d terrain models, and depth maps from the collected data. When coupled with a RTK GPS system & post processing we can achieve survey grade accuracy, measured in the range of a few centimeters.

NDVI Sensor Specs:

Spectral Bands: Blue, green, red, red edge, near IR (global shutter, narrowband)

RGB Color Output: 3.6 MP (global shutter, aligned with all bands)

Ground Sample Distance: 8 cm per pixel (per band) at 120 m (~400 ft) AGL

Capture Rate: 1 capture per second (all bands), 12-bit RAW

Interfaces: Serial, Ethernet, WiFi, External Trigger, GPS

Field of View: 47.2° HFOV

Custom Bands: 400nm - 900nm (QE of 10% at 900nm)

NDVI:

VTA DRONES uses MicaSense RedEdge sensors. RedEdge is a rugged professional multi-spectral sensor that captures specific wavebands needed for accurate plant health analysis. The sensor has optimized GSD, a down-welling light sensor, and a global shutter for distortion-free images. These multi-spectral images are then combined into maps of the target area giving you valuable insight into the health of your plants and information about valuable resources like pesticides and fertilizer. Plant stress can be detected quickly and efficiently, allowing you to detect disease spread and irrigation issues that effect your yield.

 

Real Time Camera Specs:

Sensor Type: 12.1 Megapixel, 1/2.3-inch CMOS

Total Pixels: Approx. 12.8 Megapixels

Focal Length: 5.0 (W) - 40.0 (T) mm (35mm film equivalent: 28 (W) - 224 (T)

Optical / Digital Zoom: 4x / 8x

Maximum Aperture: f/3.0 (W) - f/5.9 (T)

Shutter Speed: 1 - 1/2000 sec.

Exposure Control: Auto, ISO 80/100/200/400/800/1600/3200/6400

Continuous Shooting: Approx. 2.3 shots/sec

Real Time:

We have developed a unique and innovative system of collected HD still images and transmit them to the ground for analysis in real time. This system is perfect for the inspection of infrastructure. The UAV pilot can control all the functions of the camera including shutter, zoom, position/angle, etc. The images taken are transmitted to the ground and decimated to any phone or PC that is on the wifi network we setup on the ground. Allowing you to review the images in real time. HD images are much easier to inspect than live video which usually is low quality when transmitted from a drone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hardware MFR's & Open Source Software We Use