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Mercury quadcopter unveiled at CSU E-Days

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At Engineering Days this April, Ryan Murphy and five other engineering students flew a customized quadcopter for their CSU audience.

“People loved it.  We were far from the most technical project, but everyone seemed to like how clean and polished our final prototype was,” Murphy said.

The Mercury Quadcopter

The Mercury Quadcopter

This prototype was created as a joint senior design project between the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Departments sponsored by Rocketship Systems Inc. The quadrocopter, which is helicopter propelled by four rotors, is called Mercury VTOL sUAS. VTOL refers to a device with vertical takeoff and landing, and sUAS is a small Unmanned Aerial System. With the exception of the decks and carbon fiber arms, Mercury’s frame was uniquely 3D printed at I2P.

According to Murphy, the team’s goal was to create a simple, stable, modular platform that next year’s senior design team could expand on.  They even met one of their long-term goals to equip the prototype with removable arms joints that quickly snap into place, and the quadcopter is easily dissassembled. The team would like to see future improvements including streamlining the quadcopter’s body, improving power efficiency, and adding systems to make it easy to fly.

Emergency responders have expressed interest in a quadcopter like this to obtain aerial views of accidents or traffic. It may also be useful to fire fighters battling wildfires to ascertain the fire’s severity or for SWAT team members to perform scene surveillance. Because Mercury is small, intuitive and simple to the user, and does not require much training or maintenance, it could be fitting a choice for these fields.

“The hard part was understanding the needs of the other discipline and learning how to work around them. By the end of the project, ECE students were assisting with CAD design and ME students were helping with wiring,” Murphy said.

Mercury in flight