It’s been more than a year now since the Crazyflie Nano Quadcopter was released and it’s been a great journey! It’s been great to see users all over the world assembling their Crazyflies and doing all kinds of things with them. The list of cool things that have been done is long! During this time we have gotten feedback on what we can improve. We have also had time to reflect on what we think we could do better. So since some time now we have been discussing what we should change if we had the chance to make a second version of the Crazyflie. We think the time has come for an upgrade, so during the last 6 months we have been trying to sort out what we can do (and what is just too crazy..) and we have finally landed on a design that we hope you will like.
So it’s finally time to announce our new Crazyflie, the Crazyflie 2.0! Honestly we tried coming up with a cool name, but 2.0 just felt so geeky we couldn’t resist :-) During the upcoming months we will write lots of post detailing the features and design of the new version, but here’s a quick overview. First some of the things that we have seen users requesting:
- No more soldering: The new design features connectors for the motors so you will not need to do any soldering.
- More robust shape: We redesigned the PCB shape to withstand more punishment by changing the + shape to an X shape and also making the “wings” thicker.
- Bluetooth Low Energy: Lots of users would like to fly the Crazyflie directly from their phone. To accomplish this we decided on adding Bluetooth Low Energy support while keeping compatibility with the current Crazyradio.
- More payload: Lot’s of users would like to lift more payload than the current Crazyflie can handle. To accomplish this we have upgraded the motors from 6 mm to 7 mm, which increases the payload with about 2-4 times. It also makes it a lot more aggressive and fun to fly ;-)
Aside from user requests, we also have a couple of things that we wanted to improve and would give users much more possibilities to experiment and explore flying robotics:
- Improved expansion-port: We have removed the old 2×10 header and instead added an expansion interface that has better mechanical stability and is easier to use. The interface is two 1×10 2.0 mm pitch connectors, spaced 22.0 mm apart. To maximize the flexibility users are able to stack boards on top of each other, both on the bottom and on the top. This will of course affect aerodynamics and flight time, but gives users lots of exciting possibilities.
- Improved radio range: To be able to do more experiments using the Crazyflies outside we wanted to improve the range of the radio. This has been done by adding a radio power amplifier to the Crazyflie and also to the Crazyradio.
- Dual-MCU architecture: Dedicated MCU for power-management/radio-communication and updated main MCU for control and application.
When moving to the new platform we don’t want to have two different firmwares for the new and current Crazyflie. Therefore we are doing major changes to the firmware in order to support multi-platform. Our goal is to keep full compatibility with the current Crazyflie as far as the hardware will permit, so any improvements done on the new Crazyflie will also be available on the current Crazyflie. We are still hashing out the details of what this will look like, but we are looking at abstracting all hardware-related code from the core platform.
Much of the design is in place for the Crazyflie 2.0, but there still some things we don’t know yet. Here’s a list of things we will haven’t decided on or tested, that we think you might be interested in:
- Flight time: We still haven’t decided exactly on the battery so we have no measurements for this yet, but we are aiming for something similar to the current Crazyflie.
- Weight: The size of the bounding box of platform will be the same (i.e. length and height) but the board is packed with more things, the PCB is a tiny bit larger, the motors are heavier and the motor mounts are different. Due to these things not being finalized we don’t have a final weight yet.
- Radio performance: We are still tweaking and measuring the radio performance, so we don’t have any exact measurements that we can share.
- Release date: We are always careful when promising specific dates, since we know it’s hard to keep them. At this point we could still hit some major roadblocks, but so far things are going according to plan. That being said, our aim is doing a pre-order of the new version at some time during the late fall.
We think that all of this sounds great (of course :-) ), but we are very eager to hear what you think about it. Does the Crazyflie 2.0 sound interesting? Is there something you would like to add or remove? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!