A new aerial drone project, with a slighlty different approach, seeks for your support on Kickstarter. The X PlusOne is a hybrid aerial drone, combining advantages rotary and fixed-wing aircraft designs, such as vertical take of and landing (VTOL), stable fixed point hovering, as well as the ability to reach high cruising speeds up to 100 km/h or 60 mph when flipped 90 degrees to the side. The hybrid design idea is not new – Google revealed their Project Wing earlier this year, VertiKUL delivery drone is another example, and there is also the Quadshot aircraft model launched back in 2011 – however this design has yet to gain momentum in the consumer market.
Fixed-wing aircraft models can be more difficult to fly compared to multicopters, however the X PlusOne drone is aimed at changing this, focusing primarily on user friendly operation and an attractive yet simple airframe design. The drone is built around the MultiWii flight controller board which has an integrated IMU and custom software algorithms which keep the aircraft steady in most conditions, thus piloting it should become very easy.
The flying wing airframe of the X PlusOne drone is the key design aspect which allows it to fly horizontally as efficient as an airplane, and also reach the 100 km/h claimed top speed. This design also offers pretty good wind resistance, the drone can cope well with winds up to 50 km/h or 30 mph. High speed cruising relies on positioning the main wing shaped body structure horizontally, with the secondary arms acting as stabilizers. In this plane mode the four rotors are used primarily to generate forward momentum.
Transitioning between plane and quadcopter modes can be made very easily “at the flick of a switch” with the flight controller taking care of stabilizing the aircraft. During low speed flight and hovering the drone behaves just like a regular quadcopter, meaning all its four rotors are used primarily to generate upward lift.
The drone is lightweight and powerful. Its airframe is made of EPO foam with carbon fiber reinforcements, and equipped with four 150W outrunner motors making the drone able to carry payloads up to almost 0.5 kg or 1 pound.
And speaking of payload, the X PlusOne can be equipped with either a standard micro DV camera, or a GoPro for superior imaging and wide angle coverage. For vibration free footage capture an optional 2-axis gimball is also available for the GoPro camera.
The drone can be remotely operated via a 6 channel 2.4 GHz R/C system, autonomous flight capabilities being proposed as a stretch goal option by its creators. The Pixhawk autopilot system from 3D Robotics will be used to implement such features.
X PlusOne Quick Specs
- Dimensions and weight: 82.5×48.2×35.5 cm (32.5x19x14 inch), 1.27 kg (2.8 lbs);
- Controller: MultiWii board with custom software;
- Sensors: Onboard 3-axis gyro, accelerometer, barometer and magnetometer;
- Video capture: optional microDV or GoPro camera;
- Rotors: 4x150W, 1000 Kv outrunner motors, up to 11,000 rpm
- Remote control: 6 channel 2.4 GHz radio system;
- Battery: 3S 3700 mAh rechargeable Li-Po battery
- Top speed: 100 Km/h (60 mph);
- Flight time: up to 15 minutes;
- Other:25A brushless ESCs, optional 2-axis gimball for GoPro stabilization.
For a minimum pledge of US $199 you can get the designed airframe kit and the controller board, while US $479 will get you a complete ready-to-fly kit and with a camera mount of your choice. Head over to their campaign page to learn more or to support this project.