ZiptieAI is my intelligent AI drone project. There are 4 main URLs:

  • Wiki. The first place to look for udpated project info.
  • Google drive. A lot of detailed .docx files (details are everything for this project). I am working alone without (human) assistance, so accurate, useful documentation is critical.
  • This website. Built with Jekyll on Github pages. In the future, I will add a conceptual overview of the AI drone “assembly line”.
  • For now just a skeleton docs website (built with ReadTheDocs/Sphinx).

Why the name “ZiptieAI”?


The original idea for the name came from the zipties the Ukrainian army uses for their very flexible and mission ready drones. But it also stands for how you have to approach learning this stuff if you don’t have someone to lead you by the hand. If you run down the wrong rabbit hole (get lost) or hit the wall (a tech problem you can’t solve), then you need a backup path to get things done. You need to “ziptie” together whatever working pieces you have to finish the mission.

What is different about ZiptieAI?

ZiptieAI is (morphing slowly into) a well-designed concept. The documentation will also be very useful (helping you to move forward, not left and right, down many levels of rabbit holes with endless links).

For example, I recently designed and built at home (with no assistance) my first drone! I tested the FPV drone (shown below in flight) at home on my workbench!

I documented the entired build process. A detailed, honest (I don’t take gifts from drone manufacturers to whitewash things), (more or less) step-by-step (draft) build guide FRP22_fpv_quad_build.docx is available on my Gdrive.

NOTE: This drone is meant to be a test platform. My focus is on configuring various components (comm links), not on making FPV drone videos. The plywood frame gives me the elbow room I need and allows me to add and move around components in the future as required. I will add a PI5. I might add an FPV cam and VTX in the future.

PS: I am still looking for a job in the USA! I’d also be interested in working for a drone company in the Baltics/Poland or in a drone shop (for a few months, unpaid) in Ukraine. Any help/tips would be appreciated. My email address is at the bottom of this page.


The keys to success

I started this project in late 2023 with no assistance and no previous experience with AI or drones. I have made a lot of progress. The strategy I have used is:

  • Find anything that you can get working. Search everywhere (Youtube, Google, etc).
  • Find bug help with Youtube, Stack Overflow, and Google search.
  • Document as much as possible (for me thats mainly my Google drive docs).
  • Constantly update the plan and concepts (for me thats my Wiki).

Before you get into this business…

Nvidia’s $80 billion boss Jensen Huang recently said that if you want to be a success you need to face ‘pain and suffering’. I found that statement to be very inspiring. Rather than pretending to be smarter than everyone else, he told us mortals that we also have what it takes to succeed (we just need more suffering :) ).

I picked this project because its a great way to improve my skills in Python, Linux, microcontrollers, and C/C++ (and I was in Ukraine when the ziptie drone revolution was just taking off). I was not sure I could make it work. Some of the steps are really complex. My recommendation is that if you decide to get into the AI drone business without assistance, never give up and always have a backup plan that you can ziptie into your project :) .

Last updated 24.0415 (previous 24.0319 16:35)