ArduCopter $439.90 – $549.99
Maybe a traditional airplane is too stuffy and traditional for your gift-giving taste. Multicopters are all the rage. You can take off vertically and hover over a field to take in a sporting event or see what is going on in the neighborhood.
A great DIY project is an ArduCopter, which can be a traditional helicopter, or a tri-, quad- or hexa-copter. For a quadcopter, try either the 3DR ArduCopter Quad-C (top) or the jDrones Simplex Quad Multicopter (bottom), pictured below. These kits include the ArduPilot board, so there is no need to purchase it separately.
- 3DR ArduCopter Quad-C: $449.99
- jDrones Simplex Quad Multicopter: $439.90
- 3DR ArduCopter Hexa-B: $549.99
- jDrones Simplex Hexa Multicopter: $539.90
What They Do
The ArduCopter supports auto-level and auto-altitude control, navigation with Global Positioning System (GPS) waypoints, mission planning software, automatic takeoff and landing and more. The ‘simple flight mode’ lets you have fun flying while taking care of most of the hard stuff for you.
Why they’re Cool
Just search on YouTube for ‘ArduCopter’ and check out some of the videos. These things are amazing! They are fast, stable, and maneuverable. Many of the larger ones can lift enough payload that you can add video cameras, aGPS module or other goodies. This is a great platform combining flexibility and ease of use.