Western Kentucky University

Poster Title

Developing a Four-Rotored Radio Control Helicopter for Photography and Photogrammetry Applications

Institution

Western Kentucky University

Abstract

Recently, unmanned aerial vehicles have become increasingly utilized for military and security applications. However, they are also easily applied and useful in peaceful situations, offering a simpler, far less expensive alternative to manned aircraft in many instances where capabilities of flight are required. Some such civilian applications are in the field of aerial photography and surveying, using remotely controlled aircraft as sky borne platforms for the deployment of camera equipment. Using flight software and vehicle plans freely available from the AeroQuad open-source project, this venture aimed to design and implement a four-rotored helicopter (quadcopter) with which to carry and remotely operate photography equipment payloads to be used on Western Kentucky University projects and even in potential commercial applications and contracts, controlled by a microprocessor specifically intended and programmed to govern the stable flight of such a craft. The original AeroQuad designs were improved upon, beginning with purchased hardware and progressing to modified components created in the lab once possible enhancements had been determined though flight testing. Methods were also investigated to quickly and easily produce helicopter frames and parts using rapid prototyping systems and automated milling equipment. The primary application was to take aerial photographs from multiple angles for the creation of point clouds used in 3D virtual models of ground features. Although the aerial photographs are still in the early stages of development, satisfactory results were obtained using this technology.

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Developing a Four-Rotored Radio Control Helicopter for Photography and Photogrammetry Applications

Recently, unmanned aerial vehicles have become increasingly utilized for military and security applications. However, they are also easily applied and useful in peaceful situations, offering a simpler, far less expensive alternative to manned aircraft in many instances where capabilities of flight are required. Some such civilian applications are in the field of aerial photography and surveying, using remotely controlled aircraft as sky borne platforms for the deployment of camera equipment. Using flight software and vehicle plans freely available from the AeroQuad open-source project, this venture aimed to design and implement a four-rotored helicopter (quadcopter) with which to carry and remotely operate photography equipment payloads to be used on Western Kentucky University projects and even in potential commercial applications and contracts, controlled by a microprocessor specifically intended and programmed to govern the stable flight of such a craft. The original AeroQuad designs were improved upon, beginning with purchased hardware and progressing to modified components created in the lab once possible enhancements had been determined though flight testing. Methods were also investigated to quickly and easily produce helicopter frames and parts using rapid prototyping systems and automated milling equipment. The primary application was to take aerial photographs from multiple angles for the creation of point clouds used in 3D virtual models of ground features. Although the aerial photographs are still in the early stages of development, satisfactory results were obtained using this technology.