Ascent Aerosystems, a UAV manufacturer, has come up with a unique new UAV design. “Sprite”, as they call it, is a coaxial helicopter. Yes, you read that right. Inspired by the need for rugged and easy-to-use drones for aerial photography, the founders came up with the unique design and started a Kickstarter campaign, which has now raised $406,061.
The Sprite is GPS-enabled, and has a fully autonomous autopilot feature. The camera is capable of shooting 1080 p HD video, with a 2-axis stabilized gimbal. Various flight modes are available, including way-point navigation and follow me. It can be controlled using a conventional remote controller, or an Android device. Supported software includes Tower™, DroidPlanner™ and MissionPlanner™,all of which are open source flight control applications that have been in service for years.
What’s more, you don’t even necessarily have to carry your controller or Android device with you. The Sprite is capable of seamlessly flying pre-loaded missions at the touch of a button. When not in flight, the Sprite’s blades retract along its body, forming a tight, damage-resistant package as seen below:
Weighing in at 1200 g (with the battery and standard camera), the Sprite now has a gimbal supporting standard GoPro devices. It has a flight time of 10-12 minutes, with a 11.1 V LiPo battery. it can reach speeds of up to 10 m/s, with a controller range of approx. 6 km.
The Sprite is available at a base price of $799, with options for a battery charger, FPV capability, etc. costing more. You can watch it in action below: