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If you only need a drone to fly up/down, how could you simplify the flight system? What parts/propellers could you remove for instance? Could you enable a drone to fly vertically with only one propeller?

Are there any examples of drones that only fly vertically?

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  • $\begingroup$ you cannot remove any propellers unless you use a vertical guide wire to stay in one horizontal position .... you could use weaker motors and smaller propellers for horizontal positioning if the horizontal air currents are small $\endgroup$ – jsotola May 21 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ @jsotola thanks for this. are there examples of drones with vertical guide wires and fewer propellers? yes, assume this is for indoor use so minimal air currents. $\endgroup$ – Crashalot May 21 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ a single propeller would require the same mechanics as a helicopter to keep the drone body from spinning $\endgroup$ – jsotola May 21 at 21:49
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Being honest, If I wanted to achieve this, I would get myself an open source quad-copter, and adjust the control system to apply some "Input Constraints". Basically allowing the built in stabilization system to keep the drone stable and level, while only allowing me to modify the desired altitude. Depending on how advanced the system is, it should also be able to maintain its position in the world frame and eliminate any drift that occurs. You will not be able to create a drone that only flies up and down by removing parts from a standard quad-copter, as these sources of thrust are relied upon to keep the quad-copter stable, which is a deceptively complicated task.

To your question of "Could you enable a drone to fly vertically with only one propeller?", to which the answer is yes, but good luck with sorting out the rotational forces from the propeller without some other source of thrust to cancel it out.

As for drones that only fly vertically, sure, there are a few. The most obvious is a Hot Air balloon, if you decide to build your own and automate it. A cheap R/C Helicopter may also do the trick (From memory, some of the old cheap ones can only fly up/down, and rotate on the spot), but they can also be quite unstable, and certainly won't maintain their horizontal position.

If you are willing to stretch your definitions a bit, a Rocket kind of counts, but you probably shouldn't make one of those.

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