The Journalist was born from the need to develop specialised UAVs for more specific applications. Our aim was to design an intelligent platform that was fast and easy to use whilst retaining all the advantages of a conventional UAV. The solution was a concept from our industrial designer who had previously delved into the topic of UAVs at great depth during his thesis; with particular attention being directed towards the “Multicopter”. The idea that we came up with would define our platform, a folding mechanism that was specifically designed for a quadrocopter. Additional features such as the rotor protection brought this design off the drawing board and into the real world; it was time to give these ideas a physical form.
In the course of development, it was particularly important for be able to take aerial photographs at will while retaining a high level of clarity and overall quality. To meet this requirement we had to design a gimbal that could stablilise the shots whilst allowing the folding mechanism to and rotor protection to function unobstructed. In addition, no matter how extreme a manoeuvre the copter makes, no point on the copter will be visible throughout the full 180° view.
In order to bring this copter to being a must have in the professional market we have ensured that the take-off weight remains under 5kg. This is important for our market as with flight robots of more than 5kg a pilot license and permission for each flight is needed; under 5kg requires only a pilot license. Keeping the copter as light as possible also has very obvious benefits for the flight time. The entire setup of the internal components (motors, propellors, batteries) have undergone numerous field trials in order to provide a model specific optimal solution.
This product addresses the target group of: editors, reporters, rapporteurs and of course journalists. Journalism, as a concept, gave us a suitable name for our copter that says what it is truly about. It is about giving the people a new perspective on the world around them. We felt that our Journalist should actively support this objective.
1. The Folding Mechanism
For ease of transportation the Journalist can be collapsed in just a few simple steps. The folding mechanism has resulted in a particularly flat design which ultimately distinguished The Journalist. The mechanism is a simple design that fulfils its purpose to the letter as the transport size is reduced by half. There are no screws or pins needed to expand or fold the Journalist; it is completely tool free. The folding mechanism is also self-locking as the upthrust of the motors ensure that folding mechanism is opened to its maximum; this makes the folding of the Journalist mid-flight impossible. The material used on the tabs of this mechanism is specifically adapted for our design needs and can be used multiple times without degradation in functionality.
To achieve videos and photos of a professional quality we have attached a gimbal to the Journalist. The gimbal was designed specifically for the Journalist and allows it to take a clear image even with the sudden forces acting upon the copter. The movements of the copter are balanced about two axes (pitch and roll). We have positioned the gimbal on the front of The Journalist allowing for 90° of motion both up and down with a free line of sight. The system was designed for use with the Sony NEX7 but cameras of comparable weight class and size are also easily applicable.
3. Motor Units
The motor units are covered by rings made of carbon fibre so as to cause as little damage as possible to both the object in question and The Journalist in the event of a collision. Moreover, the Rings improve the thrust of the propellers by further concentrating the airflow downward. Even with our motor units the materials used have been specifically adapted for our needs. The motor nacelles where the motors are mounted were reinforced by glass powder giving them a concrete-like resilience to the motors force. The motor units also have Power LEDs built into the underside of nacelles to allow for ease of visibility, even in twilight. These LEDs also serve another advantageous function of ensuring the Pilot knows the display and flight orientation of the copter.
4. Modular Design Principal
The gimbal and the battery can both be mounted without tools thanks to our modular concept. The concept also makes is possible to balance the centre of gravity of the copter depending on the components mounted (camera and battery). For this, the battery position can be varied easily on the back of the copter. In addition, the design of the copter means that it allows for a replacement of parts rather than a whole new frame in the event of a crash.
5. PX4 sensor systems
The Journalist’s flight controller is a PX4 based model with excellent accuracy with regards everything from GPS sensors to Telemetry. The GPS system includes a variety of features such as autonomous waypoint navigation and coming home. The Journalist has a variety of flight modes that may used. For example, in GPS mode the copter will maintain its position and altitude until a control input tells it to do otherwise. Especially important for professional use is a system of logging data. The Journalist stores its log data on a Micro SD. This data can then be used for inspections but also acts as a black box in the event of an accident.
- Expanded – (L 845mm * W 845mm * H 175mm)
- Folded – (L 845mm * W 210mm * H 455mm
- Carbon fibre
- High-tech plastics in the SLS process
- 740KV Brushless
- 305mm * 127mm
- APM or Pixhawk
Take-Off Weight (Inclusive of Battery, Gimbal, Sony Nex 7 and 200g Lens)
Maximum Climb Rate
- 100m (Limited by German Legislation)
- Possible up to 3900m above Sea Level
- Up to 2000m above ground
- Approx. 15 minutes (At Take Off Weight)
- -20°C to 40°C
- One person RC Remote Control (Pilot = Camera Operator)
- Two person RC Remote Control (Second Operator = Camera Operator)
- Autonomous via GPS
- GensAce 8000mAh 5S
- Aerial photography in any form(Photo and Video)
- Aerial inspection
- Photographs from ground level possible with adaptive hand gimbal
- Indoor thanks to the propeller guard