9 Cool Drone & Quadcopter Startups & Kickstarter Projects

Personal Drone Detection System

Personal Drone Detection System 6 months ago I predicted the need to defend yourself against drones invading your privacy and security (my solution was slightly more aggressive, basically a system that would shoot them out of the air).

Aplus mobile has a Kickstarter campaign that frankly is not going so well $1500 pledged out of $8000 target with 3 days to go,Personal Drone Detection System I would have thought that every celebrity would be backing them.

Essentially this allows you to detect the presence of Drones, maybe the kickstarter project is stillborn because Drones are essentially loud buzzing things that are pretty obvious, what you need is something to actually disable the drone, perhaps some stealth defence drone that can shoot down other drones (yes I think it will come to this, if I was a celebrity being hounded by press this is exactly what I would do)


Virtually Indestructible Quadcopters


These guys have created a Virtually Indestructible Quadcopter they fly it into solid surfaces, launch it from the water, hit it with a paintball gun and a shotgun and it still intact.

Having smashed a bunch of quadcopter parts with my kids over the years, we ended up giving up on it as the cost of keeping one the air with children flying was prohibitive, not to mention the fact it spent more time waiting for parts than it ever did flying.

Industructible-Quadcopter &

These guys & are the pioneers and leaders in the semi pro enthusiast market making and selling ardupilot open source autopilot software for drones as well as all the hardware and software to enable this along with ready kitted out airframes.DYIDrones

The interesting back story behind this company is that the founders met each other online and founded a company before actually physically meeting. Former Wired Editor Chris Anderson explains how he accidentally kickstarted the drone industry on Wired



OpenPilot is a competitor to Ardupilot but is aimed at the more professional end of the nascent commercial drone market.

OpenPilot was started at the beginning of 2010 and is a serious use platform aimed at civilian and research purposes, with emphasis being placed on making the platform especially suitable for aerial photography and aerial video applications.


Beer Delivering Drone

The aircraft engineer in me (yes I was, once upon a time in another lifetime) says that this video didn’t have a full case of beer below it, but the beer drinker in me loves the concept.

Drone Deploy

Drone Deploy is a hardware and software solution to enable cloud based mission control for drones. By including an LTE comms unit in the device it gives you the ability to tap into the mobile phone networks and extend your range literally across the globe.



Parrot BeBop Quadcopter

Parrot one of the more successful enthusiast quadcopter manufacturers is about to release their latest version the new Bebop quadcopter with built in rotor guard and 14 megapixel gyro stabilized video camera.

The Bebop Drone analyzes data from numerous sensors automatically: 3-axes accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer. one ultrasound sensor with an 8 meters reach, one pressure sensor and a vertical camera to track the speed.


Parrot-Bebop-Drone Parrot-indoor


Penguin B UAV

The UAV factory builds the Penguin B UAV which it the closest thing you can get to a military drone without putting on a Uniform, when launched from a car and landing on skids that form part of the tailplane this baby holds the flight record for 54.5 hours aloft.


Tilt Rotor Quadcopter

Tilt Rotor Quadcopter is an experimental project which allows the rotors to tilt forward thereby transferring rotor thrust forward without having to tilt the entire airframe forward, exposing the top of the quadcopter to a massive amount of drag and an unstable mode of flight (there used to be a phenomena with early helicopters in particular the Bell Iroquois called the Huey roll, where by a sudden take off with extreme nose down attitude would result in massive pressure to the top of the cabin forcing it into a situation it could never recover from).

By tilting the rotors forward this Quadcopter has managed a top speed of 53mph



Want to learn something? Make something cool – UNSW CREATE club prototypes a Quadcopter from scratch

Create-logoUniversity of NSW has a cool student group called CREATE, in their own time they teach each other how to design, fabricate and build hardware and have their own Hackerspace on the University campus.

I spend a lot of time around the Universities and they are one of the most entrepreneurial and creative groups I have met. They run weekly courses on Solidworks, Arduino, electronics, soldering, design, PCB prototyping and have access to workshops and 3d printing and other equipment to make their creations. They also setup market stalls in the University every week to sell electronics parts to help fund their activities and make it cheaper for the participants to get involved. If you are looking for startup team members I would suggest spending some time around these guys and girls, they get up and make things happen.

In 2013 they designed, built and sold a quadcopter from scratch, here is their story.

Creating a Quadcopter from Scratch

Quadcopter Chassis-Create UNSW

Quadcopter Chassis-Create UNSW

Throughout the semester, CREATE has been working on a DIY 3D printable Quadcopter, designed totally in house. What began with just a simple centrepiece, used to hold two cheap cuts of 12mm aluminium tube from Bunnings, has quickly developed into a totally enclosed, stable, quadcopter build.

The original design was based off parts we inherited on loan, which proved to be a good way to get in the air, yet for the quad to be successful, we needed to choose and buy parts specific to our needs.

Component list:

Main Chassis

The current quadcopter model still has the original 12mm diameter aluminium tube, though the centre chassis and motor mounts have evolved through a number of design revisions. The current chassis features 4 separate arms, each 250mm in length, and a hole in the centre which allows all the motor cables to fit through the centre.

Underneath the hole, there is a slot to hold the 4 in 1 esc, a mobile phone for telemetry and video, and a set of rails allowing us to slide on a custom battery clip, or anything else we need to carry. An ideal build would feature 12mm carbon fibre tube, as it has superior strength, weight and vibration dampening characteristics.

One of the original Prototypes - Credit - Sam Cassisi

One of the original Prototypes – Credit – Sam Cassisi

Flight Board Dampening System

Quadcopter FlightBoard

Quadcopter FlightBoard

A key feature of the new design is its flightboard vibration dampening system. The system is based on an elastic band, which holds the flight board down, and a set of foam pads, which dampen. The result of this is very little vibrations being passed to the flight board, providing a stable flight.

Protective Hood + GoPro Mount

In the pursuit of neatness and integration, we added a hinged hood which both covers all the electronics, and provides a high mounting point for the GPS receiver. Furthermore, the hood is extends vertically above the height of the propellers, so in the event of the quad flipping and landing upside down, the re-printable plastic will take the brunt of the damage.

The front of the chassis features a GoPro mount designed into the printed plastic, allowing secure camera mounting.


Quadcopter Hood


Quad Cover Render - Credit

Quad Cover Render – Credit

Landing Gear

The landing gear is designed to transfer the landing force into the arms of the quad, taking stress away from the plastic. Furthermore, the whole setup is extremely light, using only 2 tiny cable ties to lock the landing gear onto the arms. A flange on either side of the landing gear meshes around the chassis and prevents the landing gear rotating unfavourably. The modular design allows us to make the legs longer if larger payloads are required, and to weld/reprint pieces as they break, rather than the quad.

Quadcopter-Landing Gear

Quadcopter-Landing Gear













Landing Gear - Renders

Landing Gear – Renders

Landing Gear Renders - Credit

Landing Gear Renders – Credit

Motor Mounts

The motor mounts have matured significantly since the first revision, as the current mounts are strong enough to resist minor crashes, but will break in the event of a serious accident, saving more expensive components like motors. A single nut and bolt secure the motor mount on the end of the aluminium arms.

The mounts feature a hidden cavity designed to hold a LED diode perfectly, the idea being to light up the front motor mounts with green LEDs, and the rear with red LEDs. There is also a slot to allow the motor wires coming from the ESCs to be fed through.


Quadcopter Motor





Motor Mount Renders

Motor Mount Renders – Credit

Want to build one?

The CREATE group have kindly uploaded all the files and designs to a Thingiverse page available here and licensed it under Creative Commons – Attribution – Share Alike License.


Technical Details:

Multiwii pro 2.0 flight board, running Megapirate 3.0.1 R2, a exact port of Arducopter

U-Blox Neo-6M GPS receiver, 10Hz

Turnigy 9x 8ch transmitter and receiver, running custom er9x firmware

Custom 4 in 1 120A ESC (4x30A)

AX-2810q 750KV motors, running at 3S (~12V), max current draw of ~26Amps

11×4.7 carbon plastic composite propellers

Approx. 1.5kg thrust per rotor at full throttle

3DR 915Mhz telemetry radios for 1.6km radius connection to PC software (Mission Planner)

Bluetooth for smartphone compatibility.

2x2200mAh Turnigy 3S 20-30C lithium polymer batteries, parallel.

Photos from the CREATE Quadcopter for the end of year social

Photos from the CREATE Quadcopter for the end of year social


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