I'm mapping my college campus with a drone (as part of an approved science project). I want to film, measure the temperature, and take infrared video at the same time. What drones are good for interfacing with multiple sensors at once?

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    $\begingroup$ why would the drone have to interface with the cameras or with the thermometer? $\endgroup$ – jsotola Apr 23 at 23:47
  • $\begingroup$ this is a recommendation question, which is kind of opinion based. Narrow the scope of your project down by picking a few contenders (do you want a plane or quadcopter for starters?) and come back with specific questions like "is this drone compatible with XXX" $\endgroup$ – Mohammad Athar Apr 24 at 15:27

Autonomous drones all have a built-in GPS module, but if you need a variety of sensors, then buying a consumer grade prebuilt drone such as DJI drones aren't an option, you'll need to consider building yourself a drone.

The fundamental components that make-up a drone are the following:

  • Flight Controller (FC) - This is the brain of the drone, it controls the major aspects that allows the drone to fly and function properly
  • Power Distribution Board (PDB) - This component distributes and supplies electricity to all the components
  • Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) - This component plugs a motor into the flight controller (one ESC can only be utilised on one motor) the ESC converts the digital signals from the FC to analogue signals that specify how fast the motors should spin
  • Motors - Brushless DC motors are used to spin propellors to make the drone fly
  • Propellors - Attaches to the motors and provides lift as it is spun
  • Transmitter (TX) / Receiver (RX) - The TX is the handheld remote that communicates with the RX which is connected to the FC. You use this to communicate with the drone e.g. tell it where to go.
  • Frame - This is where all the components are attached to.
  • Battery - Most drones use Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries to provide power

As I'm sure about the specifics of what you require, here are broad things to look out for:

  • Only some FCs are compatible with GPS modules. There are many FCs and GPS modules out there but their compatibilities with each other varies.

  • Make sure you decide what types of sensors you'll be using so you can estimate the payload, based on the payload you'll need to decide what config you need e.g. quadcopter/hexacopter/octocopter so you know what type of frame you need.

  • Again, based on your payload you need to choose motors and propellers. Normally motors with lower KV ratings provide more torque than higher KV motors, but higher KV motors spin faster. When choosing motors, websites such as AliExpress includes a data sheet stating the thrust of the motors with different propeller and battery configurations.

  • LiPo batteries are rated by 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, etc... each 's' provides different voltages, based on the datasheet, find the config of battery and propellers for your required thrust

  • Once you've chosen the motors and propellers and battery, you'll need to find out the maximum load current that the motors will draw, this is on the datasheet. And when choosing the ESCs, make sure you buy ESCs that are rated for a load current a little higher than than the load current of the motors.

  • Based on your set-up and requirements, you might need some sort of automation. You could make your drone autonomous by using a specific TX/RX setup with ground control so that you could create flight plans for the autonomous flights on your computer, remember only specific TX/RX and FC modules are compatible with this.

  • To connect your sensors and log data, a Raspberry Pi computer could be used as they are low cost and low form factor, this can be connected to a 5V output of the PDB with the rest of your sensors.

I hope this somewhat helped, try narrowing your question so that you can get more specific answers.


All autonomous drone are already interfacing with multiple sensors: barometric, magnetic, accelerometer, gyroscopic, GPS, temperature, ect. Some flight controller even allow you to run redundancy on those sensors. But since you are talking about video, it would be easier to post process the sensor/camera data.

Your drone choice will be base on the payload you want to carry, and the flight time you want to achieve. Depending on your situation and budget, you could do multiple flight and change the payload. Yes, having a huge drone that can lift 4 cameras and a full PC is an option, but the complexity goes with it.

Do a bit more research on your requirements first, then post a question that is narrower and less opinion base.


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