I warned you, Jivomo; here are the first couple (+) of questions
'Jivomo' doesn't quite have the right ring to it....
I am happy to answer your questions:
- I built this unit from scratch using 25mm carbon fibre tube and 2mm carbon fibre plate sourced from a supplier on Ebay. It is my own design
-Yes I presume that it shares common GPS features with the Phantom. It will stick in one place (loiter), it will hold altitude (alt_hold) and it will follow a pre-programmed course (auto). It also has a 'simple' mode where you can control it always relative to your position regardless of the orientation of the copter (i.e pushing the stick away from you always moves the copter away, stick right always moves the copter to your right - as you face it). There is also a return to landing (RTL) mode that will automatically bring it back to the point it took off from. Various options can be set in the event something fails, including RTL on loss of radio contact.
- The sensors onboard are baro, 3-axis mag, 3-axis accel, 3-axis gyro, GPS
- The controller is the APM2.5 (Ardupilot Mega) running the Arducopter 3.0 software. The hardware can be had for as little as $140USD including GPS and two way telemetry radios. The software is open source and community driven. There is a great group of us over at diydrones.com.
- I'm not sure quite what you mean by 'staying power' but with less weight you will be less stable. In no/light wind, less weight will be an advantage in that you will get more air time. Without FPV it can be next to impossible to orient the copter at any distance. Before I got FPV there was many a time when I thought I had the target in frame only to find out I was 90 or even 180 degrees out! As the copter is pretty much symmetrical about 2 axis, it can be very hard to determine just which way it is facing. FPV fixes this immediately and produces a whole lot more usable video.
- Arducopter already has some basic 'Follow Me' and 'Region of Interest' functionality. Follow me will have the copter follow you around at a fixed distance however this is implemented by actively controlling the copter with commands being sent from a mobile ground station connected by a radio link (can be run on an android phone). Region of interest controls the gimbal mounted camera to always point to a pre-specified location during an auto waypoint mission. My plan is to have the camera automatically track a moving target while I fly the copter around. This will be driven by the software on the copter itself and will not require a ground station. As I only have a 2-axis gimbal, the software will control the yaw of the copter to always face the target along with the pitch of the camera. The target will be a GPS combined with a radio that transmits its location 5 times per second to the copter. I have the GPS, radio (~1km range) and battery which are relatively cheap at ~$50 and I am coming to grips with the Arducopter code. It all seems pretty straight forward and I just need to put some time into coding/testing.
- There is a fail safe feature to auto-land when the battery is used below a certain level (based on current usage) or voltage level.
- I use the FatShark Attitude Goggles/250mW transmitter. These are standard definition - high def gear is available however it is very expensive.
- My unit does not disassemble easily and is about as big as you can get while still fitting it (carefully!) in a car. Removing arms is not a big deal, each retained with 4 bolts, however care needs to be taken to ensure that everything is aligned properly when re-assembling.
- I have not travelled internationally with my quad but I would not anticipate any probems. Most airlines place some restrictions on the transport of lipo batteries.
Feel free to ask more questions!