The HLQ (which stands for heavy lift quadcopter) spans 6 feet with rotors and was developed by a team of student mechanical engineers from San Jose State University in California.
Nick Conover, Chris Fulmer, Carlos Guerrero, and Gabriel Tellez designed the HLQ project for their undergrad senior project. And now they’re asking for help on Kickstarter to build a full prototype.
HLQ is not the world’s first unmanned cargo carrier. There’s the K-Max, a full-scale unmanned helicopter, and Matternet’s infrastructure paradigm, which aspires to launch do-gooder drones in rural areas. But the latter focus on small payloads like medicines or lab samples, and max out at 4 pounds. And the K-Max costs millions of dollars.
HLQ can lift heavy cargo and would cost a fraction of that. Onboard the 50-pound HLQ, an open source Arduino board called Ardupilot that is pre-programmed for unmanned aerial vehicle control runs the show. The team augmented that with a one gigahertz processor give HLQ computer vision, and enable the quadcopter to fly autonomously. The students will fabricate the arms of HLQ, which double as drive train, from aluminum to dissipate heat from the motors and have designed them to be swappable if they get damaged or need upgrades to carbon fiber.