B is a toy that provides an extraordinary experience. B is virtually unstoppable, capable of transitioning between ground and air allowing the development of tricks otherwise impossible to achieve.
Due to its large wheel diameter of 210 mm it achieves outstanding performance in difficult terrain. On flat surfaces B reaches high speeds.
- Vertical take-off and landing.
- Able to transition on the move between driving, flying and back again.
- Up to 15 minutes of action on a single charge.
- HD (1280 x 720 px) camera on-board with recording capability.
- An experience which has not been possible within one package before.
- Durable construction that is designed with punishing terrain in mind.
The combination of the design and material selection creates a solid construction that is capable of surviving the worst of landings. When the vehicle crashes from high altitudes, the driving rings detach from the housing and can be easily put back together. The main chassis is made out of Polycarbonate, which is the same material used in protective goggles and bullet proof windows.
The body shell not only serves as a protective and decorative feature, it is also a structural element. The chassis when combined with the body shell not only forms a rigid and light construction that maintains its shape when flying or driving, but is also flexible enough to absorb excessive forces generated during crash landings.
Therefore, you can push B to the limits even when your skills are not at the highest level. This makes B an excellent platform for all users ranging from newcomers to experts.
The wheels naturally guard the blades around them. If an impact occurs on the side of the vehicle, the prop-saver will protect the blades.
Quality electrical components including brushless motors, lithium batteries and sophisticated a flight controller. Will provide you with performance and safety when operating.
HD camera (1280x720 px) on board will capture video footage from your exploration missions, performing acrobatic tricks or shooting yourself from the extreme perspectives. The camera supports Micro SD Cards up to 32 GB.
B currently is protected by patent pending. The patentable aspect of the design is called PDU (Propelling Driving Unit). The patentable mechanism can be briefly described as any part of the propeller going through the vertical plane of the driving ring (such as a wheel or a caterpillar track). B utilizes 4 wheel based PDUs, but this can vary in design such as 3, 4, 6, etc... therefore a family of similar models could be designed in the future.
- Exploration Vehicle: the body of B could be covered in solar panels, which enables charging from the sun or the use of freely rotating propellers against the wind to generate extra power when stationary. Even if the charging time would take a few days, B could autonomously conduct exploration missions, land in a safe place, charge and then travel depending on environment either by flying or driving. Providing interesting video footage and still images, B may be able to discover new species which we may not have discovered yet (we have only discovered less than 15% of the world's species).
- Full-scale vehicle: a future sport could be born here as B can provide amazing performance in the air as well as on the ground. Sports such as motor-cross, but with more interesting tracks can create a new generation of extreme sporting events which were not possible before.
- Full-scale rescue vehicle: that could get to the site of an accident before a helicopter or ambulance. Given that B can drive as well as fly, there is no need for extra infrastructure such as a helicopter landing site.
B is the first fully working prototype, the model was tested for the past 6 months in the most extreme conditions (crash landings, driving in dust and sand ) The design was continuously improved.
There are few changes that will be implemented into the design once the funds are in place.
- Implement component upgrades to make B even more agile.
- Close the wheel housing to protect against dirt and sand. That is the most significant change to the design. With injection moulded parts the total number of wheel components will go down to 18 from current 56.
- Produce packaging to get your B to you safe and sound.
- Work on the styling and create variations of body shells.
- Improve driving system by implementing better prop-shafts.
These modifications will be applied to the base model before production begins. At the current University I have access to state of the art workshops and mentors, therefore necessary testing and design modification can be quickly and cheaply applied.
Until now I was the only person involved in the project and in the kickstarter campaign. I already established network of professionals from various backgrounds. With your help we will work hard to provide you quality product.
If your support extends beyond the pledged amount I intend to:
- Upgrade B to suck itself to walls and ceilings enabling it to drive up buildings
- Land on the water surface and look under.This way water would not even reach half of the body shell, that would resemble canoe in shape.
- Develop a smart phone app to control B
The biggest assets at the start up period is the tooling cost of injection moulding and vacuum forming parts.Tooling cost covers creation of necessary cavities that are made of high grade steel.That method allows to produce parts at lowest cost possible in high volume. Most of the plastic components (wheel housing, chassis, steering system parts, driving rings, gears) will be made utilizing this production method.
The body shells are also made from plastic, but require different manufacturing process called vacuum forming. The initial cost covers creation of the steel or alloy moulds that will be used in a later stage.
Electronic components such as; Electronic Speed controllers ESC, Brushless motors, Radio Transmitter, Receiver, Flight Controller, Li-Po Batteries, HD Camera module are available from more than one supplier. A custom electronic PCB will interface all modules to allow the switching between flying and driving modes.That is cost effective method that additionally makes the model customisable.
Packaging will consist of vacuum formed protective layer of plastic and the cardboard box with graphics.
The components will arrive from suppliers to the assembly site where they will be assembled, tested, packaged and shipped out to the backers. Delivery estimations will be from December 2013. Backers will be well informed about work progress at all stages of product development.
B is intended for recreational use but it could have a far more serious and humanitarian application.
If B becomes a commercial success I want to reinvest to use B as a way to help people. You never know, one day I may even be able to live out my ultimate dream and make a life size model that can carry people!
Please add the shipping cost if necessary.
Please have a look on the first draft of the B website.
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- I love both art and technology. I enjoy sketching ideas and making them real.
- I have degree in Economics (BA), Product Design and Robotics (BSc)
- I am currently undertaking a PhD (Computational Engineering and Design) at Southampton University. My PhD research is in area of novel propulsion system for small aircraft. I hope to surprise you once again with my work in near future.
- I was the design engineer on the successful DARPA UAVforge entry in 2012. The HALO team won against 150 international competitors.
- I am passionate about my designs and the possibilities.
The transition from driving to flying is achieved seamlessly, just by flicking the toggle switch on your RC transmitter.
Take off from stationary;
Step 1) stop the vehicle, flick the toggle switch (mode) on the top left corner of the RC transmitter.
Step 2) Start the motors and push the throttle stick (left hand side) forward to take off.
Take off while driving:
Step 1) Set desired velocity of the vehicle, flick the toggle switch. Now the speed is locked. But direction control is still possible.
Step 2) Start the motors and push the throttle stick up to take off.
Please watch the short video showing both take off from stationary and take off while driving.
More of B here:
Driving to flying transition:
Risks and challenges
The prototype has de-risked the design and though a few modifications are to be made, these are to enhance the capability of B.
The risk in the supply chain has been reduced by a smart approach to the design. The moulded parts will be made as single direction draft components; the complexity of the cavity, production time and cost are reduced. Above all, set up time for injection moulding is significantly shorter. Most of the electronic components are available from more than one supplier. Further reduction in risk can be made by ordering the same component from two suppliers.
I have access to Southampton University's facilities (one of the top UK engineering University) and mentors. Consequently, I have links to some of the top engineers in the country; many of them have their own business or provide service.
I can deliver high quality work in a short period (with B it took me about 2-3 months to transfer the idea from a sketch to a fully functional prototype. At the same time, I was involved in another project, the design of a flying drone for US Defence Agency; as member of team Halo we won their prestigious competition "UAV Forge" that involved over 150 teams from 140 countries).
When B switches to flying mode, vehicle maintains the last driving speed, while already being in flying mode. The speed is set and cannot be changed, but user has control of the direction. By increasing the throttle B simply takes off.
The switching between modes is done by main controller that interfaces all electronic modules. AVR 8 bit microcontroller, allows you to trigger video camera and switch between the modes.
At the moment flying 11 min / driving up to 18 min, combined performance 15 min.
Can you switch from driving to flying while the car is still rolling or do you have to stop it first?
Driving and flying is possible at the same time.
Standard RC transmitters operate in the range of 300 meters. I am using frequency hopping one that has 1.5 km range. The vehicle is customizable therefore, it can be upgraded to longer range transmitter.
Yes, when B drives, passing air forces the propeller to stay inside the wheel.
B is designed for outdoor use. Propellers are hold by rubber ring (prop-saver) that snaps when propeller hits the object, that feature makes B safer. But the toy should be used responsibly in the same way as any RC model with open propellers at that size .
The B drives in both directions; forward and backward. It has sensorless bi-directional ESC powering the brushless driving motor.
When in driving mode, the speed is controlled by pitch and the direction by roll. When the vehicle switches to flying, master controller maintains last driving speed. The user controls driving direction while being in the flying mode. By increasing the throttle, B simply takes off.
The Transmitter range is about 250-300 meters, that is the maximum altitude for B.
When B is airborne the wheels are still rotating, there is a reason behind that. When B jumps over an obstacle, quickly lands and continues to drive, that seems to be the best solution. But if it just continue flying, rotating wheels would cost the energy, consequently the endurance. To stop the rotation of the wheels in the air the toggle switch has to flicked twice (to the driving and back to the flying mode). The same way wheels can start rotate, when B is flying forward.
IMPORTANT: Switching between driving/flying modes does not affect the flight controller operation, which is always on and ready to take off.
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