Imagine a flying pipe. A 20' long pipe, 2-1/2" diameter. The pipe is to fly horizontally, not end on but side on. The pipe (boom) is to bea loaded with a fluid and spray that fluid through orifices on the underside of the boom. The pipe will have baffles within to ensure fluid does not flow laterally and gather at one end. The pipe is to fly horizontally about 6" from a plant canopy which itself is anywhere from 4-36" tall. I would suppose the unit needs some side props to control sliding to the side.
The unit is to spray fluid over an area, line upon line. The unit will sit on a trailer at one end of the area. The unit takes off, sprays it's fluid down the length of the area. At the end it stops, slides over one flying boom width (20') and sprays back. It lands onthe trailer which has also moved over 20'. On the trailer it gets repressurized with fluid and has it's batteries changed. The trailer is moved ahead another 20' and the unit takes off for another 2 passes out and back.
Is this possible?
If so, where do I start? Can a system handle, for example, the side slip and then proper reaction with powering end props to keep it from slipping?
Fluid weight is about 50lb on 20' of boom or 2.5 lb/ft. While I'm sure titanium would be nice and light and strong I cannot work with that. I can do aluminum, probably molybdenum.
I provide a train of thought, that is under high load of unmanned aerial vehicle (uav) do a spraying module, can spray liquid and mounted on the unmanned aerial vehicle (uav), unmanned aerial vehicle (uav) is responsible for the flight, module load spraying liquid (drugs or disinfectant, of course, was the pesticide to suit can be done, but you should have a high reliable load of unmanned aerial vehicle (uav)).
I'm not sure what area you're going to be working on, I'm just working on what I understand you to be
If i understand you right, you're asking if the UAV will be navigating itself? Yes, it's responsible to fly the straight line to the end of the pass, stop forward flight and spraying, slide over, fly and spray back, then stop spraying and land on the trailer.
Agree if you ask me if something is possible it's just a matter of is there anything physically stopping it from happening, if that's the question then no nothing stops you from doing this. Follow up question would be is it actually feasible/cost effective? To that the answer is probably no unless there is some reason you can't have a ground vehicle do the job (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Center_pivot_irrigation)
There might be reasons to do some limited targeted spraying where you wouldn't want to use a center pivot style for distribution of the sprayed solution but still the amount of extra maintenance etc. required for a flying system seems like it wouldn't be worth it. Larger quads that could carry something of that size would need to be completely custom built though (I'm talking make your own props size because you can't buy props big enough), a few people have made "man sized drones" that can fly a full size human worth of weight on top of them, but matter of investment and maintenance cost vs actual savings for any other solution that doesn't involve flying... trust me @Dugdog47 and I are both advocates of flying things, but time and a place for everything. If you are working with some extreme terrain or simply need to survey a large area then a quad is a great solution but for carrying around large loads (especially sloshing around liquid) poses a serious challenge.
DugDog and Wafflejock
Thank you for your comments. Especially regarding fluids. Yes, they slosh around quite a bit. Given that I'm talking about a flying pipe and not a flying 5 gallon pail then most of the slosh is lateral and that I've addressed with suggesting internal baffles / chambers.
It's not as if Asian countries are not already building and using aerial spray platforms. (https://dronespray.com/) The benefits are not just fringe and frivolous. A few benefits include: no tracks in the crop and the downward wind blowing the mist into the canopy increasing it's effectiveness and reducing the need for more chem.
Out our way we do not have center pivot irrigation except for the extremely high grossing crops such as potatoes. Even if we did CPI still leaves tracks. CPI is also very expensive.
Regarding feasibility and my question of it being possible I do realize that many things are possible if we put our minds to it. My question has more to do with: Are there software platforms out there for drones that actually let us add more programming and control for such factors as sideslip / lateral drift and their needed props? And, can I program in 'land on a dot' automation?
If much of this is possible, where do I even start? Where do I start learning?
I humbly thank you for your input.
I was looking into some common carrying capacity for bigger size quads but not the "fully industrial" grade yesterday and a big RED 5 4K camera is 10lbs or so from some Googling and is a common thing for them to carry around. If you reduce the weight significantly and go with a smaller pipe and more trips then it would make it far easier on the quad/FC to keep things balanced, as you said baffles in the tubes to reduce the sloshing is a good idea. I'm not trying to stop you or anyone from trying to innovate with these things but just have to make sure to keep it reasonable in terms of scale you can really achieve given off the shelf components (or even some custom fabrication)... Agree with DugDog again here too regarding pick up some smaller gear and get the basics with regard to autonomous control working first and then can start looking at strapping various tests payloads to the quad.
Regarding the overall idea of them coming back to the truck to charge, the charge is going to take at least 30m (2C charge rate is typically not great for batteries but can get some that will deal with it without losing too many cycles or incurring too much damage). I think you'd want to have direct contact charging since inductive charging is very wasteful and introduces more heat (bad if already charging faster than the regular 1C or 1hr to full rate). I'd think 2 options there, option 1 simpler one is just have more quads doing the work so while some are charging on docks the others are working, option 2 have the battery be detachable by the charge ground station (basically put the extra weight/complexity of pulling off battery onto the ground unit that the quad lands on have it handle detach battery get into charge slot and slot already charged battery into quad... option 2 far more complicated might be cheaper at some massive scale).
LU motors are the ultimate motors for commercial / industrial applications. They have been specially designed for large-scale multi-rotor platforms looking to perform tasks such as professional aerial photography, mapping, agriculture surveying, or anything in between.
Also keep in mind there will be custom development involved in terms of the tracking and landing systems since even with iNav I'm pretty sure you are mostly working with GPS/compass which isn't going to be precise enough for landing directly on a charge pad, something like how the robo vacs work using infrared lights on the charge dock and sensors on the quad to center itself over the charge dock would help. Also somewhat funny thought but also maybe practical? Was thinking could make the charge dock a pyramid and have the quads land on them "stargate style" to charge up
I don't mind funny ideas.
I understand UAVs can be made to land on a dot. I mean a dot shape on a landing pad. So if GPS gets us close and there's a dot at the landing point then I need to learn how to get us there.
I would not need to have it plug directly into charging ports, just landed is fine and we can change out the battery packs.
WaffleJock, I'll get back to your longer reply later today.
Something I totally don't know is how much of this stuff is already out there and available. Is it easy to work with existing gyro, orientation, gps navigation, land on a dot stuff and so on? That is a big chunk of my unknown. The other is knowing what so source and where to source it. By this time I'm sure it's pretty obvious don't have much experience with this but I want to know where to start. Thanks so far for the ideas, startpoints and link.
In replying to your longer two paragraphs I'll be risking some repetition. My apologies.
I agree, charging cannot be fast enough to battery changeout is a necessity. Regarding recharge rate and wrecking batts from cycling too fast it may be that we'd have enough batteries for the entire field and just charge them slowly.
The scale of this need not be 20' to start. We could even start at 10'. Our current ground sprayer is 120' and a narrow sprayer is 60'. A much smaller prototype is the way to start.
I will look into the suggested start points.
First of all, you must have a reliable, heavy-load, relatively long-lasting drone, and mount the spray module.
1: DJI's Rufeng 8 plus DJI spraying kit can be solved, it can also be used with other modules without spraying, and the obstacle avoidance functions are very powerful.
2: DJI's plant protection drone is specially designed for spraying, but the flying is not high, and it is limited to agricultural use. But the plant protection machine seems to have the function of automatically searching for the remote control, which is the function of the trailer movement and automatic landing you mentioned, but it also requires specific settings.
Of course, the above cost budget is relatively high, but it is really worth the money
Yup good stuff @pineapple I wasn't aware those were already developed solutions that DJI offers. Seeing that I'd say kind of two approaches, like pineapple says buy something proprietary that is already getting you 90% of the way to what you're looking for to proof of concept, but then likely to start more from scratch for an actual production thing or start with open source platforms and build up your small scale on those from the first place then extend to add what you need in terms of custom control or sensor input.
In the more open source space there are basically two maybe three options I'm aware of: