Mobile Surveillance and Tracking for Special Operations

Photo of Don English, Lane Lemesany, Phil McLain Students: Don English, Lane Lemesany, Phil McLain

Sponsor: The University of Texas at Austin

Date: Spring 2010

The design requirements include: an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with a total rotor diameter less than 40 inches; wireless control of the UAV; a payload range of one to two pounds; live video and audio transmission to a ground receiver; operational flight time of 10-15 minutes; stealth capability including minimal noise and visibility; recharge capability via conduction. These requirements must be met with a budget of $2000.

Design, embody, prototype, and test a flying unmanned vehicle to assist in payload delivery and video surveillance during Air Force missions.

The frame selected for the UAV was the DraganFlyer V Ti Pro due to its lightweight carbon fiber design, cross-member support structure, and rotor diameter of 40". A YellowJacket Pro 2.4GHz receiver was chosen for its multichannel setting, long range (1 mile), and simple video interface. To accommodate the receiver, a 2.4GHz StingerPro transmitter was selected. The team chose the Stinger Pro for its light weight and power requirements (5V). A KX-550 ¼” CCD camera was chosen as the video source for its low power requirements and high resolution. Further improvements were made to the UAV to increase performance. The lithium polymer battery was upgraded from a 3-cell 1350mAh to a 3-cell 2100mAh battery. Faigao brushless motors replaced the stock Mabuchi brushed DC motors. An aluminum roll cage and landing gear were constructed to add ground clearance and absorb stress from landing impacts. A portable solar panel system with conducting plates was designed to facilitate remote charging of the UAV.

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