The Draganflyer X4-P is one of the newest UAVs from Draganfly Innovations, a Canadian company founded in 1998 who produce a range of rotary, fixed-wing, and ground based robotics. Developed around a design philosophy of “Keep it simple” and a culture of providing premiere customer support, the quad rotor X4-P is a professional quality platform constructed from carbon fiber and injection molded components.
Draganflyer Innovations have been open and responsive to customer feedback in the development of their products, which has led to the X4-P being used in an array of application areas, including public safety, industrial inspections, education, and photography and videography. Amongst the most interesting applications of Draganflyer UAVs is the Massachusetts Institute of Technolgy’s SWARM Health Management Project which allows a collection of Draganflyers to adaptively fly in close proximity without danger of collision, and ultimately collaborate on set tasks such as ground feature surveys or the pursuit of an object of interest.
The X4-P is an electric powered aircraft intended to be flown within line-of-site by the Pilot in Command (PIC). It is capable of a climb rate of 2m/s and a maximum airspeed of around 50km/h. The ready to fly dimensions of the Draganflyer X4-P is an equal 87cm in width and length, and 32cm in height, with a total flying weight including battery, gyro and camera payload of approximately 5 pounds. One of the innovative strengths of the X4-P is its collapsible frame facilitating efficient transportation, with the carbon fiber rotor booms folding back and payload and landing gear able to be removed. This allows the entire unit to reduce down to a mere 16cm in height and susbequently be packed into a rugged transport case that meets the maximum size requirements of most standard airline baggage.
The camera gimble that comes with the Draganflyer X4-P is gyro stabilized in the pitch axis with camera vibration isolated from the frame, keeping the camera on target and providing quality results. The Draganflyer is offered with an option of one of three camera systems, which include the SONY RX100, the SONY NEX5R, and an FLIR Thermal Imaging camera. The 20MP SONY RX100 is the higher end of the two visible spectrum camera systems, with integrated remote shutter, remote zoom and live digital video transmission. The 16.1 SONY NEX5R provides excellent low-light performance and quality HD video, although does not support remote zoom control. Whilst the FLIR is a 640 x 480 resolution long wave infrared video camera that provides detailed real-time IR imaging particularly suited to law enforcement activities.
X4-P comes equipped with 11 sensors that ensure that the helicopter is kept level and orientated correctly in real-time. The onboard computer includes a telemetry data system which monitors aircraft battery health, heading, bearing and altitude, with both audible and visual alerts to transmit aircraft warnings. Operation of the X4-P is via an ergonomically designed controller that provides real-time aircraft telemetry, camera control, and a digital video download link. The Draganflyer X4-P is capable of semi-autonomous flight modes that enable altitude hold, GPS position hold and “Return To Home” landing functionality.
Draganfly helicopters are “Ready-to-Fly systems” that come with two days of certified flight training that includes theory of flight, safety in operating the equipment, and software and hardware maintenance. Draganfly also offer optional advanced training to utilize aerial photography, videography and specialty payloads such as FLIR camera systems with video networking and systems integration.
More information about the Draganflyer X4-P can be found at the Draganfly Innovations website.