UAV reigns down vengeance upon thee

An unemployed electrical engineer can be a very dangerous thing. [Cybrown] has turned his skills toward darker, more awesome applications by building an armed unmanned aerial vehicle. This is a remote control airplane that has a movable camera mounted in the cockpit. Video and GPS data are sent back to the pilot who views the picture via a wearable display. We’re betting this doesn’t have the range that the 100km UAV did, but that’s good because this one brings doom from the skies. Check the wings in the picture above, this RC is fireworks-enable. We’ve embedded flight footage and attack video after the break.

Update: Here is a forum post covering this nugget of awesome. There are just a few details but the entire thread is interesting. Someone pointed this out in the comments but they don’t get credit because they didn’t leave a link.

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Roombas with UAV Brains Play Pac-Man

[Jack], [Cory], and [Maciej] are playing Pac-Man with Roombas on a lab floor. The Roombas are outfitted with ALIX3d2 single board computers running Gentoo and a software suite developed for UAVs at the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles. The hardware and software sections are quite in-depth and make for a good read.

Homemade UAV


[Terence Bordelon] sent in his impressive UAV (Unmanned Arial Vehicle). The hack is a culmination of his other projects. It can be turned to fully automatic at the flip of a switch. It will fly itself to gps way points, land, and take off. The UAV has a range of 100km thanks to his home built RF Unit which runs on ham bands. The brains of the setup is his custom IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit). The unit is controlled by his ground station which either allows him to fly it normally or toggle through the various modes.  [Terrence] is also a game developer and has worked on many popular titles such as Zoo Tycoon 2 and Ratchet and Clank.

Robot subs compete

These Autonomous Underwater Vehicles are all competing in the 12th annual AUVSI competition. They have to complete an underwater obstacle course that involves some tight maneuvering, retrieval of a briefcase, dropping bombs, and firing torpedoes. We’ve seen several UAVs before, but we haven’t ever seen them weaponized and in action. Yeah, those weapons don’t look lethal, but isn’t that just a matter of ammunition?

OpenVulture, software for unmanned vehicles


The first talk of ShmooCon was [Ethan O'Toole] and [Matt Davis] presenting their OpenVulture software for unmanned vehicles. In the initial stages, they had just planned on building software for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, but realized that with the proper planning it could be used with any vehicle: airplanes, cars, boats, and subs (or more specifically, their Barbie PowerWheels). The software is in two parts. First is a library that lets you communicate with each of the vehicle’s modules. The second half is the actual navigation software.

They’ve spent a lot of time sourcing hardware modules. They are looking for items that work well, aren’t too expensive, and have a fairly plug and play implementation. For their main processor, they wanted something that wasn’t a microcontroller and could run a full Linux system. The ARM based NSLU2 NAS seems to be the current frontrunner. You can find the opensource software and descriptions of the supported modules on their site.

They’re building the first test UAVs now. One has a 12 foot wingspan for greater lift and stability. We’ve covered the Arduino based Ardupilot and other UAVs in the past.

Ripsaw MS1


The Ripsaw MS1 is an unmanned ground vehicle built by two brothers in Maine. The tracked vehicle can go 0-60 in 3.5 seconds with an 80mph top speed. In its current form, it has a 2000 pound capacity, which opens the possibility for many different types of weapon systems. Control is provided by two people: one driver and one gunner. They work in independent remote stations. The Ripsaw could potentially be used in any application normally reserved for a tank. It could lead a charge without putting soldiers at risk.

We’ve been watching this project mature since 2005 when it was being marketed as a Grand Challenge competitor. This week it’s being demoed at the Army Science Conference. Check out footage of it in motion below.

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Cambridge Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

The Cambridge Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, built for the SAUC-E Challenge, is a fantastic example of UAV construction. The competition is to build a UAV that can complete an underwater assault course. This baby has a full computer inside it, based off of the worlds smallest full featured x86 motherboard, the Pico-Itx.  It has a 1GHz EPIA PX 1000 Board, 1 GB of RAM, Wireless Network capabilities and runs Ubuntu server 8.04.

The CUAV suffered from leaks which ultimately cost it the competition, but the information on the build is fantastic. They have detailed pages upon pages of information about the Mechanical, Electronic, and Software aspects of the design.  They even went back in and added notes from what they learned during the competition.  The project is also outlined in much shorter form on the mini-itx website.

[thanks Vesaines]