Thursday, April 30, 2020

Robots as Spaceships: Flyers

Not all robots are bound to the ground or to the water. Some of them can fly! Here we look at the various options Gurps: Spaceships provides for atmospheric locomotion.  Some options we might want are missing: propeller systems are the most notable. Others we want to adjust the stats on a little, and still others we just want to understand properly. Most of the time we will be adjusting speeds down in the name of modeling real or fictional vehicles: the new lower speed we call "Downshifted".

While this article is part of robots as spaceships, its probably just as useful when building vehicles, and I suspect I'll come back to it more in that context than for robots.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Robots as Spaceships: Quadcopters

In the last decade or so, consumer robotics has aquired an all star: the Quadcoptor. When we talk about a drone now adays, we're almost always talking about a quadcopter. Perhaps no robot has ever been produced in such numbers and made so available to the public.

In our Robots as spaceships system, this just means we need to use the helicoptor rotors from Spaceships 7, right? Well, we could. But quadcopters don't have the same performance as real helicoptor rotors, and they have very different costs and mechanics. They don't cost the same amount, and they don't move in the same way. Quadcopters use a very different steering mechanism from traditional helicopters. Helicoptors steer mechanically using "swashplates", while quadcopters vary their power to different propellers. The Quadcoptor method is more difficult to pilot and less power efficient than a true helicopter. Its also much simpler and cheaper to produce, and with modern electronics, piloting it is no longer a major issue.

So lets build a system for quadcopters in spaceships.