Mobile Recon Systems recently started a new Kickstarter campaign July 10th. The goal is to fund a super sized drone named the KittyHawk. The KittyHawk is, according to their Kickstart campaign, “a carbon fiber Quadcopter platform with 3 HD video cameras, 2 gimbals, up to 33m flight time.” With a goal $75,000, I’m a little nervous about this campaign. While the quadcopter design is very functional, thanks to it’s large size, I feel like it appeals to a smaller demographic. The brains behind the project is Mike Dowell, CEO of Mobile Recon Systems. Mr. Dowell considers himself a “serial inventor” and with a number of patents and patents pending, the title seems well deserved.
So what can you do with a drone capable of carrying 9.4 lbs and comes equipped with three cameras? Here are just a few suggestions from Mr. Dowell, “real-estate photography, performing bridge inspections, looking at power lines, or inspecting wind turbines.” With the three camera configuration, if you spin the quadcopter in place, you can capture a 360 degree panoramic image, thats pretty cool. The KittyHawk uses the Pixhawk PX4 autopilot, an active open-source project, which almost guarantees you will have useful firmware upgrades. Thanks the the features the Pixhawk PX4 autopilot has now, the Kittyhawk can use GPS guidance for autonomous flights, it can circle the subject of your photography and it can even follow you. Not only do yo have the development efforts of the open source community, Mobile Recon Systems is working on incorporating a small LIDAR (laser radar) sensor to enable obstacle detection and avoidance, a new feature they are projecting will be available in about 11 to 15 months. Pricing ranges from $2,259 to $4,579, but you get a lot of drone for your dollar, so if you have been considering some of the higher end quadcopter rigs for your commercial drone business, you might want to invest in the KittyHawk Kickstarter campaign.
KittyHawk Key Specifications:
- Width; 3’ 1.5” x Length; 2’ 9” x Height; 1’ 4” (with fixed landing gear)
- Up Weight; 9.5 pounds fully loaded and equipped
- Flight time @ 10,000 mAh; Hover 19.6 min, Mixed 15 min, Constant 6.3 min
- Flight time @ 20,000 mAh; Hover 33.4 min, Mixed 26.4 min, Constant 12.5 min
- Speed; 33mph
According to Francis X Govers III in his article, “KittyHawk “heavy lift” quadcopter can carry three GoPros.”
The KittyHawk is 37.5 inches (95 cm) across and weighs 9.5 lb (4.3 kg) with a payload capacity of another 9.5 lb (4.3 kg) for an all-up flying weight of nearly 20 lb (9 kg). It can carry three cameras, two of which are on gimbals – one on the bottom, another gimbal on the top – and a third camera fixed looking straight ahead. – gizmo
According to the Mobile Recon Systems:
Our goal was to produce an innovative and powerful heavy lift Quadcopter that is durable, safe and multi-functional while remaining user friendly. We have incorporated many features that can only be found in expensive high end rigs. If you’re excited about 4K video how about doubling or tripling that, the KittyHawk Luxury is equipped with two multi axis gimbals and two GoPro 4 Silver editions. That’s a total of three HD video cameras and two multi axis gimbals; the top and belly gimbals are set up for the Hero 2, 3 or 4 or other sport video cameras and a Runcam HD FPV nose camera comes standard on all models, the Runcam can be replaced with a GoPro Hero, 2, 3, and 4 or any of the popular HD sport video cameras on the market. The KittyHawk Supreme is equipped with a multi axis gimbal and GoPro 4 Black edition on the canopy and a 3-axis DSLR gimbal on the Belly, along with the standard Runcam HD FPV nose camera. These gimbal / camera setups can be optional depending on the selected package. The video camera array on the KittyHawk can be set up to accommodate a mix of sport cameras, DSLR, thermal, FLIR or LiDAR to suit your every need. The gimbals can be used in auto stabilization or manual transmitter control using one or two transmitters. The KittyHawk classic comes standard with a single 2-axis belly gimbal and a GoPro Hero 1080 10,000mAh 6S LiPo battery and the KittyHawk Luxury and Supreme models are packed with a whopping 20,000mAh 6S LiPo battery.