Funded! This project was successfully funded on February 25, 2013.

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A gas powered quadcopter capable of autonomously picking up and delivering a payload of 50 pounds.


Thank you for taking a look at our project. We have been hard at work developing HLQ and hope that you will find it as exciting as we do. Please take a look at our video and/or continue reading to learn all about HLQ and how your support can help make the project a reality.

Who are we?

We are a group of mechanical engineering student working on our senior project at San Jose State university in San Jose, California. The group consists of 4 members: Nick Conover, Chris Fulmer, Carlos Guerrero, and Gabriel Tellez. We each carry a specific set of skills and are cap-stoning in 2 different disciplines: Mechatronics, and Mechanical Design.

What is HLQ?

We are designing and building a Heavy Lift Quadcopter (HLQ) which we are calling Incredible HLQ (sounds like "Hulk"). Like the super hero, HLQ will be able to lift and transport a huge amount of weight for it's size and cost. HLQ will be capable autonomously retrieving and delivering 50 pounds of payload.

How are we doing it?

In order to accomplish the 50 pound goal, HLQ will utilize a drive train powered by two gasoline two-stroke engines of about 12.5 HP each. Lift will be achieved using four commercial RC helicopter rotor heads spinning four 435mm blades. Selection of these blades were based of actual lift testing in our test rig which is featured in the video. Control is achieved by using the variable pitch control of the rotor-heads to change the lift output and induces torque of each rotor.

Flight control will utilize DIYDrone's Ardupilot APM2.5+ module. The Ardupilot is a open-source arduino based control board for UAV's. It has been widely utilized for many fixed wing, helicopter and multi-rotor flight platforms and has a proven track record. Best of all, the programming is already done for us.

In addition, we will be utilizing a computer vision system for payload identification and tracking using the OpenCV library on a Roboard RB-110. The RB-110 is a complete computer on a single board. It has a 486 compatible processor running at 1GHz and is capable of running, Windows, Linux or Dos. We will be using OpenCV through it's Python extensions to identify payloads and guide HLQ in for retrieval.

As students of San Jose State, we have a lot of resources available to us for designing and building HLQ. The Engineering department has a computer lab which has design tools such as PTC Creo, Solid Works, and Inventor. We have thus far been utilizing mostly Creo to design and analyze HLQ. We also have access to electronics labs, mechatronics labs, and product testing labs to help build and troubleshoot HLQ.

We are also just two blocks away from the San Jose TechShop which gives us access to lathes, mills, laser cutters, a water-jet machine, electronics equipment and more.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, we have made contact with members of the worlds top aerospace and mechanical engineering firms right here in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are designing HLQ with reliance on their knowledge and experience.

As you can see we have all the resources necessary to complete HLQ. But there is one thing keeping us from meeting our goal: funding! That is, of course why we are here on kick-starter, and why we need your help to make HLQ a reality!

When will we complete the project?

The majority of the project will be completed by the end of May 2013, as this is the end of the semester. Some further testing and feature implementations may be completed after this point, but we fully plan on having HLQ in the air and flying autonomously by this date. As this will be a very rapid prototype build, we will be putting a majority of the Kickstarter rewards on hold until after the semester has ended, so that we can pay full focus to the project. As with all Kickstarter projects, the anticipated delivery date can be seen for each reward level in the rewards section.

How will the money be spent?

HLQ is an expensive project as far as most senior engineering projects go at SJSU. The costs go beyond what we as students can afford to support, and this is why your support is crucial to our success. Our project will utilize many off the shelf components. Your support will help us to purchase engines, belts, pulleys, gears, rotor heads, rotor blades, electronics control boards, raw materials like aluminum and carbon fiber, tooling, flight control electronics, computer vision electronics, servos, and much more. All these things add up to an estimated cost of approximately $7,500. This is our bare minimum requirement to be able to make HLQ a success. Every dollar above our goal increases the possibility of implementing all the features we want by the end of the spring semester which is at the end of may.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

One of the major challenges for this project is timing. This is a very rapid prototyping process and timing is critical to completing the project on time. We have taken steps to reduce this risk by designing HLQ to utilize as many off-the-shelf components as possible, so we will not need to design some of the more intricate and complicated components such as variable pitch rotor heads or complex electronics. In addition, because we are using the Ardupilot as out flight control board, electronics and software development is greatly reduced.

The only other major challenge is in funding. This is, after all, why we are here on Kickstarter :)

FAQ

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211
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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    31 backers

    A big thank you from us! We absolutely appreciate every dollar we can get to help make this happen.

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    51 backers

    Your name or company name and a website link of your choice (with our approval) will be listed on the sponsors section of our website.

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    29 backers

    You will receive all the previous levels plus a digital download of all our project videos including simulations, testing videos, flight videos etc. as well as exclusive videos never published publicly in DVD ISO format, so that you can burn a copy and watch it in your own DVD player.

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    10 backers

    You will receive all the previous levels plus a physical DVD copy of all our project videos including simulations, testing videos, flight videos etc. The DVD will include a traditional DVD case with cover art and special sponsor recognitions.

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    Add $7 USD to ship outside the US
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    16 backers

    You get a t-shirt! We will be creating several t-shirt designs and allowing supporters to vote for their favorites. The best 2 designs will be printed and shipped to you based on your design and size preference. These shirts will also be EXCLUSIVELY for Kickstarter backers. We will not make them available for purchase anywhere else.

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    Ships within the US only
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    1 backer

    Whoops! We forgot to make the t-shirt reward available internationally. Use this reward level for internationally shipped t-shirts! From the original reward: You get a t-shirt! We will be creating several t-shirt designs and allowing supporters to vote for their favorites. The best 2 designs will be printed and shipped to you based on your design and size preference. These shirts will also be EXCLUSIVELY for Kickstarter backers. We will not make them available for purchase anywhere else.

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    Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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    11 backers

    You will receive the $10, $30 and $40 levels. That's recognition on our website, a DVD of all our videos, and a T-Shirt!

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  • Pledge $75 or more
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    4 backers

    We will test and compile lift and torque data on a set of 5 helicopter main rotor blades for the first 20 contributors at this level.For every 10 additional contributors, we will add a set of blades to be tested. All contributors at this level will be able to recommend and vote for the blades that will be tested. The report will be delivered digitally in PDF format.

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  • Pledge $250 or more
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    11 backers

    You will receive all of the above plus a bound hard copy of the final report, drawings of all parts and assemblies, bill of materials, and complete source code; Basically, every piece of information you would need to build your own HLQ.

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    Add $20 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $300 or more
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    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    You will receive an exclusive invite to a HLQ demonstration viewing party. We will demonstrate HLQ's capabilities and want you to see it! The viewing location and date is yet to be determined, but will be around the end of May or beginning of June, and in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

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    3 backers Limited (3 left of 6)

    You are a super sponsor! You will receive the t-shirt, DVD, and an invite to the demonstration viewing party. At this reward level you or your company will also be featured as a sponsor on our website. A logo of your choice (and as approved by us) will be prominently displayed and linked at the top of the sponsors page of the HLQ website and at the end of every video or presentation the project produces once the project is funded.

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    1 backer Limited (3 left of 4)

    You are a super-duper-sponsor! You will receive the t-shirt, DVD, and an invite to the demonstration viewing party. At this reward level you or your company will also be featured as a sponsor on our website. A logo of your choice (and as approved by us) will be prominently displayed and linked on the FRONT PAGE of the HLQ website and at the BEGINNING of every video or presentation the project produces once the project is funded.

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  • Pledge $10,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    Once the project is completed and all features developed, you will be the proud owner of your very own Heavy Lift Quadcopter prototype! We will show you how to maintain and operate it as well as provide you with support. Please remember, the prototype will still be a development model. While we have and will be putting our greatest effort into designing HLQ with overview from experienced professionals, we cannot warrant against design or manufacturing defects. We also will need to test and demo HLQ. If it were to have a failure, there is a possibility that it could be catastrophic, and irreparable. You will still receive HLQ in this event, but as-is, and if you still want it. Rest assured, however, that it is also in our best interest to keep HLQ always operating safely, and we will do our best to keep it so. You will also receive the t-shirt, DVD, documentation package, and an invite to the demonstration viewing party.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships within the US only
Funding period

- (31 days)