Originally Posted by Hajile
Not all helicopter flyers fly their helicopter upside down and you don't need GPS to level out. Altitude is determined by a barometer, not GPS, which works regardless of orientation. Accelerometers and Gyros do have an autolevel already in use on Walkera helicopters. Magnetic deviation can be compensated in software, if the heli moves north, but the GPS shows that it moved 10 degrees northeast, then it can adjust its magnetic declination, there's no special hardware for that. Is there any actual reason why an FCB can't level out a helicopter and travel between waypoints by itself?
It has magnetometers, accelerometers and gyroscopes that it can use to orient itself. A barometer for determining altitude relative to the start point. And a GPS to determine its absolute position. Everything else is software. The only issue i can think of is if the CPU is fast enough to do all the mixing between the servos to react to the sensor inputs. So far, not only are they fast enough to control quads, they're fast enough to control gimbals as well, so that's two sets of servo mixing (or throttle mixing in the case of the quad motors).
Correct, but there is supply and demand. These are niche market items a the moment, and you can't just go buy one from Hobby King. Some of the few suppliers are small business with only a few employees, so there is a large initial investment on their work they must recover before the price comes down. Others have been doing it commercially for some time and can charge less for similar components.
Bottom line is many are addicted to cheap crap and expect that everything should be almost free. RCG in particular has been sliding into a cheap clone and cheap parts site (at least the heli forums) for some time now, so anything over $100 is considered outrageous. Commercial waypoint GPS systems are $10,000-$20,000 so $450-$1000 is nothing compared to what the big boys are using. Anyone can argue that something should or shouldn't cost but "X" amount, but the cost is what it is at the moment unless someone has the skills to build something themselves.
The cost of an item is never based only on the sum of its parts. We want it, very few make it, so we pay what they ask for the moment, or do without it until there are other choices.