Dear All, it has been a highly rewarding year for the One Man Drone Project: We had our design finished, built and tested. Our Proof of concept only with 8 of the 12 motors lifted me like a rocket! Next, tests revealed that stability with big implements and inertia shifts could be handled. Even one motor falling out, did not affect the craft stability. So we are confident. We had a marvel simulation done with spray boom hanging under our drone emitting droplets: we could see in the simulation being a powerful instrument for the future design!

We would like to express our gratitude to all that have been contributing to the success: our advisors, cooperation partners, the authorities in legal issues, the scientists. We hope we can continue such cooperation to realize the dream: drones improving agriculture, safety, and rescue, etc.. And last but not least Fun!

 

Proposal for Submission to EFRO program

We are currently preparing a proposal for an EU subsidy with and work together with equipment manufacturing group Boessenkool (http://www.boessenkoolbv.nl/), and have found the support of Agrovision (www.agrovision.nl) (LoI) and  work in the project with NLR (www.nlr.nl) as cooperation partner.

They find the drone on this mega scale attractive and highly challenging.  Next newsletter we can disclose the name of our partner.

 

Developments in fire firefighting drone

Excellent discussions with DPSA, a dutch company that produces innovative aerosol fire extinguishing systems (www.dspa.nl). These devises are 1000 times more powerful as water for killing the fire: Normally they are used in enclosed environments, but also in the outside environment, have a look. What we can imagine is to use our drone to position such device accurately in the heat source. So we have agreed to start up a project cooperation. Will start in 2016…

FireDrone ver2 p1

 FireFighter6

Cooperation with WUR

With the WUR we plan to make a R&D STW project in which key elements are sensing, vision, image interpretation, and action as part of the system. We signed a LoI with them for joint cooperation on the topic of large drones (payload 50 to 100 kg)

 

Cooperation with UTwente

With the university of Twente we signed an LoI ob cooperation on Mega drone development. This project will cover all key elements for a drone with robotic features. From silent rotors to autopilot redundancy systems, etc.. We have some tools available so to have students do tests on silent  rotors etc..

 

Market study  

Aerovision has been conducting the market study for the agricultural applications for our drone. The bottom line is that there is a huge market expected for drones larger than the current camera drones. This market will be in currently in the more liberal legislation countries that embrace the drones for industrial use, like USA, CA, NZ, AU, BR, SA, IN, CN,

It also is clear that for flat land the drone is competitive as compared to spray tractors when it comes to crop care. This is even more pronounced for the use in hilly areas. Clearly high yielding cash crops are most interesting as a market, such as seed potatoes, flowers , etc..

 

Crop programs

In order to have our drone be implementable in the sector, we will be integrating its functionality in the drone. For this we had good first discussions with a major provider of such programs.

AgroDrone3_1duel

Meeting with Dutch potato growing farmers

We had a number of meetings with all kind of potato growers. Highly interesting to see their views on this topic. All clearly see a future for these drones on crop care. (there was even a sentiment on the says that spraying planes would do acre by acre, but quite indiscriminate! Now they feel that this technology can have the ease of such times, but completely programmed. They also see this as a way for freeing more time for the farmer and being more agile.  We highly appreciate farmers views on the technology and these encourage us to attain product leadership.

 

Approval for flight testing in 2 areas

For the further testing we now have 2 official sites to do waypoint testing with a water tank and spray system. Will be fun! Later we will use solvable paint in the system to measure patterns as compared to our complete simulation. This simulation uses a fluid dynamics computational tool which creates a 3 D space in which we put the drone at certain velocity spraying drops of certain size and volume over the boom over a computed crop (eg vineyard) We can then actually view the traces of the droplets, their speeds and landing. We can add factors like a side wind or whatever. We cannot wait to test our results..

 

FAA going as anticipated!

In one of the early blogs at the Hummingmanproject.com, we anticipated that once drones become work horses for all sorts of activities there should be basically a virtual traffic control tower for the lower airspace in which these drones would function with other crafts such as ballones, micro lights,  etc.. That there would be GPS locations for each craft in that space and rules of conduct per type of craft. We said that 3 D maps would be needed, and that there would be an enormous potential for youngsters shaping such future. Good to see that FAA is just doing this!  In the Netherlands NLR is doing some tests. Germany is with DLR moving in this area with highly interesting results: eg the DB is now putting all its buildings in 3 D mapping, others are in making receptacles.

 

Sodium (Natrium) based 2000 cycle batteries

A French research institute recently announced the development of recyclable Sodium batteries. The cells currently have modest performance of 90 Wh/kg currently and 2000 cycles.

In order to really compete for a spot inside the consumer lithium-ion battery market, the new batteries will need to get faster and stronger. Just this November, Huawei unveiled its latest, fastest lithium-ion charging technology—boosting a phone up roughly 50 percent in just five minutes. If the French can get their model to compete, then they just may be worth their salt in the battery market. (source: http://fortune.com/2015/12/01/compact-sodium-ion-battery/ also for picture courtesy)

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Drone tests

The drone was tested these weeks only few times as our pilot for personal reasons had limited time. Also there was the issue of bad weather, not do the drone, but for us doing the testing preparation.  But with the new control system we could perfectly test Pitch and Roll and finetune. Yaw is the next thing and then we have the way point flight. With the drone testing centre in Airport Twente we await the approval for such flight. ILenT, the dutch authorities on RPAS’s still have to reply to our request.  Once approved we can show this feature!

 

Continuous generation of new ideas

In discussion with target groups for the drones we continuously find new applications for our system that can lift 100 kg.

 

Battery study

We have engaged in a battery study to update our search. It is interesting to see that capacities improve, whereas the high energy systems lack the cycle life of the LiFePO4 systems. Automotive industries and other interest groups spur performance, Tesla being one of the major players in this. Contact us for more details

 

Market study

The Market study is well underway and interesting things emerge: trends in crop care and systems and spray technologies. We can immediately apply this knowledge in our design of crop care system.

Investors news

We now have all ready Investors Pitch, B plan, Video etc. We can send this package to prospective angel investors. We do not want to engage with VC’s as we need investors that 1) believe in the commercial applications in agriculture for our agridrone; 2) want to bring their knowledge on business making, 3) use their network for this venture.

 

 

Cooperation with B partners

 

Developments in rescue

We have furthered the analysis with people from the Innovation Centre of the Military. Indeed there is a potential as was confirmed. We will be having contacts with the logistics guys, so to start with a relatively less demanding application. Military operations are filled with procedures that sometimes are based on older technologies.

 

Discussions are underway with a number of cooperation partners. One is in the Agrisector, the other in the manufacturing. Highly interesting as this might also give sharing of experiences and support the commercialization in a later stage.

 

Subsidies

We are preparing for a EU subsidy on innovation. We are now discussing interests, roles and responsibilities. For this we hired a professional consultant to ensure success!

 

Cooperation with WUR

With the WUR we plan to make a R&D STW project in which key elements are sensing, vision, image interpretation, and action as part of the system.

 

Cooperation with UTwente

With the university of Twente we have agreed that a project related to the many aspects of a larger drone could be formulated. This project will cover all key elements for a drone with robotic features. From silent rotors to autopilot redundancy systems, etc.. We have some tools available so to have students do tests on silent  rotors etc..