The thing about most sophisticated drones is their rather complicated nature. Not only are the hard to fly but thier working principles can easily be “obscured” to an unexperienced hand. Its no rocket science, trying to fly a complicated commercial drone ( of which you truly cannot fly) of this nature can only lead to one not so favourable event — a crash. Crashing means either your drone is a ‘gonner’ or your intended mission is impossible. However, some very sharp minds are already coming up with a ‘relatively suffiscated’ drone that isn’t complicated — The Fleye Drone. It is based on the “ducted fan UAV” concept, used in larger industrial/defense drones. The big deal with the Fleye Drone is being able to shrink this technological concept into a small piece of gadget, robust enough to fly without issues. Now being protected by a patent, this ingenious design is a result of over 18 months of Research and Development by an equally ingenious team led by Gofleye CEO Laurent Eschenauer. The Fleye drone looks more like a gadget from a SciFi movie than real — but hey, its actually very much real. Being the size of a soccer ball and weighing about the same weight, its not entirely a surprise most spectators lucky enough to see a live demo of the drone repeatedly ask whether it truly works! The miniature design of the Fleye drone is however well intended. Perharps The main innovation of Fleye is its unique spherical design, where all moving parts are fully shielded. This means that you can hold, touch, push, and bump into Fleye without any risks of injuring yourself and others. It also means that Fleye will be more robust when bumping into something which doesn’t really go down well most drones. Bumping into objects when using most drones will unfortunately result in an instant crash, but fleye drone is able to avoid this thanks to a complex control system and lots of sensors. The Fleye Drone sensors include a 3-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer as well as a pressure based altimeter.
Fleye is powered by a swappable standard 3S Lipo 1500mAh battery with an XT60 connector. The battery should charge to full capacity within 50 to 60 minutes using the bundled charger or about 20 minutes using a high-power RC battery charger. 1500mAh is large but not enough — The Fleye doesn’t have a very impressive flight time, but its very likely the design team are working to fix this. So what happens when The Fleye Drone runs out of electric juice in the sky? Fleye is designed to issue warnings when the battery level gets low so you have time to get home. In the case you can’t make it to your landing spot or a safe zone on time before the battery gets really low, then Fleye will autonomously land safely.
Fleye is a badass Autonomous flying machine with a powerful on-board computer,
similar to the latest smartphones. It is a dual-core ARM A9, with hardware accelerated video encoding, two GPUs, with about 512MB of RAM. The drone project is still soliciting for mass production funds on crowdfunding site kickstarter, the company also offer a special Developer Edition reward that comes with a Quad-Core computer and 1GB of RAM .It also runs Linux and supports the popular Computer Vision library OpenCV. This means that Fleye can be programmed to execute mission autonomously, reacting to what it sees while flying in its environment.
Fleye Drone — Specifications
3-axis accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer
Pressure based altimeter
Sonar – Measure ground distance up to 3 meters
Bottom camera for optical flow tracking
Dual and Quad-core Model — both ARM A9 800Mhz CPU3
Hardware video encoding – 1080p 30fps
GPU supporting OpenGL and OpenCL for Developers
1GB and 512MB RAM models
USB and serial extension port
100 meters range Wi-Fi
micro SD-card slot
5mpx Omnivision 5640 sensor
160° FOV lens
1080p 30fps video
720p H264 RTSP low-latency preview
1080p MP4 stored locally on SD card
Size: a sphere of Ø23cm
Total weight: 450g
Generic 3S 1500mAh LiPo battery with XT60 connector
10 minutes flight time
+/-10cm (3”) hovering precision
10mp/h maximum speed
5 mp/h wind tolerance
The Fleye Designers didn’t design the drone with a particular use in mind. The autonomous flying robot can be used for taking awesome videos and pictures, or just flying for the fun of it. It is also a reliable platform by which to tailor build useful drone applications for businesses or events. The Fleye Drone is also a great platform for education as well as research on drones and control systems. The Fleye Drone is partly funded by —The Faktory — a private Tech Startup Accelerator and Seed Investment FFund, founded by Belgian entrepreneur Pierre L’Hoest . If the newly launched Kickstarter project can
reach its $190,000 funding target, the drone should start shipping by the fourth quarter of 2016.