7.4

Review
score

Inspector X8 Development

Evolution of drone electronics and capabilities, through advanced technology and materials

Inspector X8 Development

The Industrial Monitoring Drone development cycle

Inspector X8 is the latest addition to the Airborne Mechatronics fleet of professional aircraft. The Airborne Mechatronics engineers have designed and  built it with one goal in mind- Industrial Monitoring and Surveillance. The Inspector X8 boasts a full anti-vibration frame for extra smooth flight charateristics, X8 configuration motor redundancy, high precision GPS, on-board mini-computer, 2-axis gimbal and more. The Raspberry Pi is the mini-computer inside, which can run a variety of operating systems with a huge selection of applications.

by Airborne Mechatronics

Inspector X8 prototype

First revisions

Our prototype was a bit heavy with it’s 4 legs for landing gear and a huge prop-guard setup. The gear had frame connectors which were too bulky, to carry 4 of them. We redesigned it, so only 2 would be required. That small fix, saved mass the most. Initial testing revealed immediately that industrial monitoring drone operatives in the field would have difficulty juggling the video feed monitor and remote control. It was clear that we needed to develop a custom GCS solution as a companion for extra ease of use with a pad built-in for mission planning and a stand for live video monitoring.

by Airborne Mechatronics

Inspector X8 Ground Control Station

by Airborne Mechatronics

Inspector X8 prototype with carry case and GCS

Some more adjustments

After a slight rework the black seemed a bit too dull, therefore the Inspector was given a distinct orange hood. The propeller guards got re-done to help with the mobility for travel. Below you can see the 4 feet replaced with a more lighter 2 connector solution. Additionally the GPS stand got replaced with a more sturdy CF tube that doubles as a carry handle. The end of the carry handle tube would be the base for a simple Mobius cam for FPV capability.

by Airborne Mechatronics

Inspector X8 protoype rev B

Final tweaks

After another revision it was apparent that the gear connectors are still too heavy, so the POM material got swapped with aluminium custom frame connectors with a angled tube which saved a mass and improved on appearance. The gear also detaches by a pull on the connector lever to reduce size when packing.

Testing also revealed that the motors should have a bit more power, thus the original T-Motor 3510 360kv’s were swapped with the 4014 400kv. With the added power we were able to increase flight time and responsiveness.

The GPS mount, turned out a bit too sturdy and it was in need of another rework. This time returning as a small 4mm CF plate with a fixed base on the top. So Mobius lost it’s mount and got moved under the hood.

The carry handle was replaced by a strap on the backside, so you can comfortably grab it by the tail. Since the ESC are located inside the booms and the use case for this drone might range from cool to very warm areas, the booms needed ventilation holes to be added for extra cooling.

The prop-guards had a small rework from being a connector based system of  rectangular tubes to a machined CF plate to really make the goal of a lighter All-up-Weight possible. They connect to the booms by the motor mounts that have special clamps in place.

Here is the final version of Inspector x8:

by Airborne Mechatronics

Inspector X8 Industrial Moniotring Drone

Summary

We set the front facing camera on a 2 axis gimbal in that way the view is not obstructed by the propellers and the operator can tilt it up or down. It seconds, as a custom weight that balances the battery strapped under the back. Airflow holes for the ESC’s that hide inside the booms, allow for more cooling to keep the Inspector X8 speed regulators functional even with heavy load in warm weather.
There were several prop/motor combinations tested of which the T-Motor 4014 with 400kv configuration supplied plenty of power to provide a smooth and stable flight, throughout the mission. Foldable propellers make the Inspector X8 especially compact when not in use.

Featured elements:

Battery quick connector.
Airborne Detachable gear.
Threod AutoPilot system / Pixhawk
T-Motor CF 15”x 5 props or KDE foldable 15.5” x 5.3
Onboard mobius + OSD
AntiVibration Frame
Boom end cap LED solution +  switch
High Precision GPS
Propeller guards for close flights to fragile objects of interest

by Airborne Mechatronics

Front view of Inspector X8 Industrial Monitoring Drone prototype

by Airborne Mechatronics

Inspector X8 Industrial Monitoring Drone

7.4

Review
score

InspecTools

The Inspector X8 is a valuable asset for monitoring wind turbine blades

  • Flight Time

    6
  • Payload capability

    5
  • Maintenance

    8
  • Cost

    8
  • Adaptability

    10
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