SpektreWorks, like a lot of cool things in the drone world recently, was started by ex-3DR employees.
Jeremy, Brad, and I worked on the special projects team at 3D Robotics. We worked on one-offs and prototypes for big corporations that needed tools instead toys. When 3DR changed it’s corporate strategy following the release of the Solo, we went our separate way and formed SpektreWorks so we could keep doing what we were doing.
As soon as we set up shop, we started working on our concept Spektre aircraft. The 3DR Solo is awesome in a lot of ways, but it lacks endurance and payload capacity. If we were going to design a vehicle that could be used as a drone workhorse, it was going to need to lift more and fly longer. So we decided to make Spektre have the same smarts as a 3DR Solo but with a new body, a bigger battery, more powerful motors, and a quick-release payload bay.
Making the Spektre as smart as a Solo meant using a Pixhawk 2.
The end result was a brand new vehicle that weighs 3.7kg, can fly up to 40 minutes, and lift up to 1kg. It’s fully compatible with the Solo gimbal, the Solo app, and Solo Smartshots.
The Pixhawk 2 allowed us to simplify the electronics design considerably. Instead of a rat’s nest of wires going in and out of the old Pixhawk, the cube just plugs directly onto our circuit board. Now it’s copper traces on a carrier board instead of wires snaking around the chassis. Plus, since the Pixhawk 2 is internally dampened, there’s no need for those vibration dampening foam mounts. The end result was a very tight, highly integrated circuit board.
And here it is fully assembled on the aircraft. The Pixhawk is mounted on the bottom side.
This version of Spektre was designed around a specific customer’s needs and does not lend itself well to mass production. We’ve already started working on the next version of Spektre that will have all of the same smarts (including the Pixhawk 2), will be more versatile, and cheaper.
We’re not stopping there. We’ve got more Pixhawk 2 carrier boards coming down the pipeline. Keep an eye open for them!