Customizable (research) drones for bachelor thesis needed


New member
Hi @ all,

I am currently working on my bachelor thesis, where I need to compare some (ready-to-fly) drones and their adaptability. So far I found the Ascending Technologies research drones as well as microdrones which both look pretty promising in terms of adding custom sensors and functionality.

Unfortunately, my professor would prefer at least one Open Source plattform in my comparison. So far I found ArduPilot as well as PixHawk which happen to be open source. Sadly both are just the flight computers and would need a suitable airframe and some assembling - my prof. said I should avoid those options.

So my question now is: Do you guys know any other drones, that would fit following critera:
  • Must come ready to fly
  • Must be able to add custom sensors (or custom payload in general)
  • Must be programmable in some way (via some kind of API at least)
  • (Optional, but preferably) Open Source

My thesis focuses on drones for research purposes and my institution will buy some drones based on my work, so I want to consider all options.

Thanks in advance for your help,


Participation Award Recipient
How much weight are you looking to be able to carry? What features are you looking for it to have?
Open Source - I could see this in the software, but there isn't a lot of open source hardware out there.

Is there a reason you need 'ready to fly' over a kit? building a quad really isn't that complicated (and depending on exactly what your doing, the chances of needing to be able to repair it is something to consider). The hardest part would be the tuning of the PIDs (if you don't have any flight experience flying acro this could be an issue).

If your looking for an 'open source' frame, your probably looking at a kit or building it yourself. You might be able to find a pre-build drone that uses open source flight software (fairly common).

if your looking for something larger, you might want to checkout, rctestflight [] uses some of their drones in his videos rather often

I thought of this, however, given that your looking on carrying extra weight, this is probably not what your looking for (it is also a kit):