Long range video surveillance robot

The title of this post isn’t entirely accurate. It’s more of a very strange remotely controlled vehicle, a kind of land drone. You’re probably wondering why it’s made out of a shipping box, well here’s what happened… I bought a 1000mw wireless video transmitter with the intention of learning about it and eventually putting it on an RC plane to fly around. It was shipped to me in that very USPS box pictured above. The first thing I wanted to do was power it up and see how long the range was, of course! So I taped all the components to the top of the box so they would stay together and handed it to +Steve Melton who then proceeded to run far away while I watched the video feed. The camera works great, it gives a good picture for quite a long distance (tested to 1900 feet on flat open ground) and is resistant to objects in the way like buildings and trees.

Continue reading for all the details and a video of it in action!

After this test I strapped the box on top of my nitro RC truck but the vibrations and lack of reverse made it almost impossible to drive via the video feed. That’s when I decided to add wheels and propulsion to the actual box.

It basically turned into a test to see if I could use tape and glue to make a fun-to-drive vehicle. A ghetto-bot if you will. I had an extra brushless motor and propeller already so it seemed like a quick way to give this vehicle propulsion without having to come up with a drive-train for wheels.

Here’s a rough list of what went into it!

Part Price
1.2Ghz 1000mW Receiver+Transmitter $135.00
2x USPS Priority Mail boxes freesies
Hitec Optima 6 2.4Ghz Receiver $54.00
Arrowind 18A Brushless Speed Controller $25.00
2x 2200mAh 20C LiPo Battery Pack $40.00
Brushless motor $15.00
Custom motor-reversing relay board $ -
Some foam wheels from an airplane ~$10.00
1x Medium servo for steering ~$10.00
A bunch of tape and some hot glue $ -
7-Inch Handheld LCD TV for viewing $50.00

Somewhat surprisingly it turned out to be very fun to drive and the rear steering affords quite a good amount of maneuverability. Best of all you can drive it from either the onboard video feed or by looking at it like a traditional RC car, both work out really well! The camera has a pan/tilt mechanism that makes it easy to look around while driving.

Check out this video of the bot in action!

Like the video says, I can’t decide what to name this thing, so if you have an idea then post it on the YouTube page! Thanks for looking! questions or comments? Leave a comment below!

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