The Vertex is a hybrid drone that combines the capabilities of a quadcopter and airplane into one awesome platform.
About this project
Introducing the Vertex Hybrid UAV:
A practical VTOL aircraft for UAV enthusiasts
The Vertex Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or drone is a hybrid aircraft that combines the hover and Vertical Takeoff or Landing (VTOL) capability of a quadcopter, with the fast and efficient forward flight capabilities of an airplane into one awesome and versatile platform. With the Vertex you can enjoy recreational flight, install your own camera to take unique aerial videos, or install your First Person View (FPV) system to get new aerial perspectives.
Take a look at some of its benefits:
Versatile Aerial Filming and FPV Platform
The Vertex was designed with aerial filming and first person view (FPV) flight in mind. The Vertex comes with custom adapters to attach your own GoPro camera, or a Tarot T2D gimbal with GoPro 3 camera. Adapters for other cameras or gimbals can be 3D printed. All Vertex configurations can lift the camera, gimbal and FPV system at the same time.
The Vertex is all about customization and versatility. You can quickly change between three flight configurations on the field, and you can fly using one battery or two batteries connected in parallel for extended flight times. This allows you to adjust the Vertex performance to your flight requirements: hover performance, speed, range, or endurance.
How does the Vertex Hybrid work?
The Vertex employs a unique patent pending design which combines four independently tilting propulsion units for maximum control and stability with two tandem wings for forward flight efficiency. The custom control algorithms and reliable flight transition mechanism enable stable flight at any transition angle between hover and forward flight. This gives the pilot the flexibility of vertical takeoffs and landings from just about anywhere, precise maneuvering in small spaces, or fast forward flight in large areas. Activate the auto-level flight mode for ease of flight, or use the stabilization flight mode to have full control of the aircraft.
The Vertex prototype shown in the video is controlled by an inexpensive MultiWii flight controller with a modified firmware. Because we want to make the Vertex flight controller agnostic, right now we are modularizing Vertex-specific control code into an embedded co-processor intended to interface with any flight controller, to make porting much easier. First we will interface with OpenPilot’s CC3D and then to Pixhawk to make headway into flight automation.
We carefully designed the Vertex from the ground up to be a natural and practical fusion of a quadcopter and an airplane, resulting in excellent flight performance. The Vertex provides significant payload capacity, and flight times of over an hour with flight range of up to 30 miles when using wing extension and extra battery upgrades.
What’s in the package?
The Vertex uses the highest quality components such as Hitec transition servos, APC propellers, metal gear servos, Tattu batteries, and a CC3D flight controller. You can also choose to upgrade the standard EMAX motors and speed controllers to very high quality T-Motor brushless motors and speed controllers. The Vertex also comes almost fully assembled as well as fully tuned, to get you flying in just two hours.
We are making three Vertex reward levels available to our United States backers: kit, almost ready to fly, and ready to fly. Unfortunately, due to export control regulations, we are unable to export flight controllers and transmission equipment outside of the United States. For this reason, we are making the Vertex kit and almost ready to fly rewards available to our international backers, without the flight controller. But don’t worry, the remaining components are readily available in online stores and we’ll gladly point you to where you can order them.
We are also making various upgrades available for our backers! Choose the wing extension upgrade if you want to use the high endurance Vertex configuration which increases flight time by 45%. If you are looking for the highest quality electronics, upgrade your motors and electronic speed controllers to T-Motor brand. You can also get another battery pack to fly your Vertex using two battery packs at the same time to increase flight time by 40%, or use them separately to carry out two consecutive flights without charging in between.
To upgrade, simply add the appropriate amount to your pledge total according to the diagram below, and we will contact you at the end of the Kickstarter campaign to confirm your choice of upgrades.
We have worked tirelessly to make the Vertex a reality. At this point we have a functional factory prototype which you can see in our Kickstarter video. We have been working closely with a factory that will manufacture the Vertex, and have already contacted all other partners such as component suppliers, fulfillment companies, and merchandise forwarders. So at this point we have a good plan for how to manufacture the Vertex and get it to your hands. All we need now is your support to be able to move from the prototype stage to mass production and shipment.
To carry out mass production of the Vertex, the factory asks us for a minimum order of a couple hundred Vertex units plus an investment to cover initial costs for tooling and mold creation. Since the Vertex is made with high-quality components, this amounts to a very high initial cost. This is where you come in. The money raised through this campaign will be invested in covering these initial costs, manufacturing Vertex units, and covering all other fulfillment costs.
Following is the expected project timeline to get the Vertex to your hands before the end of this year. We’ll keep you updated all throughout the process.
Towards flight automation
Now that we have developed a working Vertex platform that can be flown manually, our next mission is to make the Vertex a fully autonomous VTOL UAV. That is, we want the Vertex to be able to take off vertically, transition to forward flight, carry out an entire flight mission and land vertically, all on autopilot. Autonomy will also prove useful as a fail-safe mechanism for returning home or landing in case communication is lost, on low batter or if if some other kind of malfunctioning is detected.
By the time we start shipping the Vertex, we plan to have released a free Pixhawk firmware that can fly semi-autonomously. This means the Vertex is flown manually when in hover mode and can fly autonomously when in forward flight mode.
Within a few months after the first shipment, we plan to have developed a freely available full flight autonomy Pixhawk firmware for the Vertex. We will keep everyone posted on the progress.
By backing this project… you will allow us to produce at least two Vertex prototypes and purchase autonomous-control hardware to give to our development collaborators to accelerate the development of flight autonomy for the Vertex.
More about ComQuest Ventures
We are Juan Cruz-Ayoroa and AJ Cruz-Ayoroa. Juan is an aerospace engineer and AJ a computer engineer. We have vast experience in the areas of aerospace design methods, aerodynamics, robotics, electronics and software design, and are also lifelong tinkerers and inventors. We founded ComQuest Ventures LLC (CQV) in 2014 as an aerospace startup company based in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. CQV is focused on the development of advanced Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) such as the Vertex Hybrid UAV.
Our driving force is that we firmly believe science and technology should be open and accessible to everyone as an essential tool for human expression, well-being, and ultimate liberation. Feel free to contact us any time regarding the Vertex or any other thing you find interesting, we’d like to hear from you.
Risks and challenges
We have delayed the start of the Kickstarter campaign until we were confident on our manufacturing, distribution and support plan for the Vertex product. However, there will always be some risks since this is a complex process involving several parties:
Shipment delays: We have made every effort to make sure the process will run smoothly and to minimize the risks and delays. However, in case the expected shipping date is delayed due to an unforeseen event, we’ll immediately update the backers to inform about the situation and the new expected shipping date.
Performance: We have measured performance using a pre-production prototype of the Vertex, and the performance statistics may vary slightly between our current prototype and the final manufactured aircraft.