Autonomous UAV School Project


Junior Member
My name is Kiefer Dresser and I am a high school student who has a passion for aerospace and robotics. I would like to pursue the study of both fields with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). I am attempting to build and test an autonomous UAV with the capabilities of geographical observation and aerial mapping for an independent study school project. This will count as a class and will be graded at the end of the year. The UAV I am trying to build will be able to fly all by itself without control inputs from a pilot. It will be powered by an electric motor and battery. The aircraft will carry several cameras and sensors that will aid in its flight and mission. The largest camera will face downward from the aircraft and take pictures at regular intervals to make a map of the ground below, by creating an image similar to google maps, but with much greater detail. To fly autonomously it will have a GPS and autopilot system run by a computer program. It will be able to take off, land by itself, and fly a pre-programmed route. This UAV could be very useful in agricultural and construction applications, as well as search and rescue, and be much more cost effective than operating a full-sized helicopter or airplane.

This year-long independent study prepares me to pursue my goals after high school and beyond. My hope is to learn about autonomous operation and control of aircraft. I am seeking financial support for my project, as the designing of a UAV is quite expensive, and my school is unable to fund the high cost. I am attempting to make it relatively affordable, by using a combination of off-the-shelf and custom components. To give you an example of cost, a UAV with these capabilities, ready-made, would cost five to twenty thousand dollars.

My goal is to raise $1,500. This aircraft will not be used for commercial use; I will only use it to further expand my knowledge of robotics and flight. I hope to work in the UAV industry in the future, and I think this study would help me get a jumpstart on my career. I look forward to being able to pursue my long-term goal of building a UAV. I appreciate your time, consideration, and support. As my project progresses, I will periodically be posting updates of my project.

Here's the link to my gofundme!