Two of my fellow lab mates, Daniel Pickem and Jean-Pierre de la Croix, and I have decided that we should use whatever free time we have from grad school to build a UAV. We have created a team called the GYRObots (Get Your Robot On bots) and we are well on our way to making a homemade UAV. Check us out at www.gyrobots.org.
The catalyst of this venture was when I installed an Arduino, GPS chip, and data logger into my remote control plane and preceded to almost lose everything into a nearby river. Below you can see how the plane with the installed electronics. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. After takeoff the plane was completely uncontrollable. Of course I had chosen to fly next to a river and that is where the plane started to head out of control. Luckily it did not go in the river even though it got within five feet of the water. It flew across to the other bank and got stuck in a tree over hanging the river. The flight path can be seen overlaid on Google Earth in the picture below. Daniel and I were able to use our climbing gear to climb the tree and rescue the plane the following day.
Anyways… we think we can do better with the plane we are building for GYRObots.