The DIY Kid-tracking Drone


On school-day mornings, I walk my grade-school-age son 400 meters down the hill to the bus stop. Last winter, I fantasized about sitting at my computer while a camera-equipped drone followed him overhead.

So this year, I set out to build one. For the basic airframe, I selected a quadcopter design for its maneuverability and ability to hover. Construction was straightforward: You can buy a quadcopter kit with all the pieces or, as I did, get parts separately and spend more time on system integration.

On the mechanical side, there’s a central frame to hold the electronics, spars of aluminum to support the motors and propellers, and legs to cushion the quadcopter’s landing (I made a few extra sets of legs out of foam board for easy replacement).