Welcome to the Incredible HLQ project! We are a team of senior mechanical engineering students at San Jose State University developing and building the worlds first Heavy Lift Quadcopter (HLQ) with a practical weight capacity of 50 pounds. This site will follow the progress and status of the project as it proceeds from concept to working prototype. Please check back often for updates and thank you for visiting!

What is HLQ?

We are designing and building a Heavy Lift Quadcopter (HLQ) which we are calling Incredible HLQ (sounds like “Hulk”). Like the super hero, HLQ will be able to lift and transport a huge amount of weight for it’s size and cost. HLQ will be capable autonomously retrieving and delivering 50 pounds of payload.

How are we doing it?

In order to accomplish the 50 pound goal, HLQ will utilize a drive train powered by two gasoline two-stroke engines of about 12.5 HP each. Lift will be achieved using four commercial RC helicopter rotor heads spinning four 435mm blades. Selection of these blades were based of actual lift testing in our test rig which is featured in the video. Control is achieved by using the variable pitch control of the rotor-heads to change the lift output and induces torque of each rotor.

Flight control will utilize DIYDrone’s Ardupilot APM2.5+ module. The Ardupilot is a open-source arduino based control board for UAV’s. It has been widely utilized for many fixed wing, helicopter and multi-rotor flight platforms and has a proven track record. Best of all, the programming is already done for us.

In addition, we will be utilizing a computer vision system for payload identification and tracking using the OpenCV library on a Roboard RB-110. The RB-110 is a complete computer on a single board. It has a 486 compatible processor running at 1GHz and is capable of running, Windows, Linux or Dos. We will be using OpenCV through it’s Python extensions to identify payloads and guide HLQ in for retrieval.

As students of San Jose State, we have a lot of resources available to us for designing and building HLQ. The Engineering department has a computer lab which has design tools such as PTC Creo, Solid Works, and Inventor. We have thus far been utilizing mostly Creo to design and analyze HLQ. We also have access to electronics labs, mechatronics labs, and product testing labs to help build and troubleshoot HLQ.

We are also just two blocks away from the San Jose TechShop which gives us access to lathes, mills, laser cutters, a water-jet machine, electronics equipment and more.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, we have made contact with members of the worlds top aerospace and mechanical engineering firms right here in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are designing HLQ with reliance on their knowledge and experience.