We have recently developed and tested a formation control algorithm for fixed-wing aircraft in Paparazzi at ENAC. The position of an arbitrary number of vehicles can be controlled in a circular path. In fact, we are not restricting ourselves to circles but to any closed orbit, such as ellipses, thanks to the guidance vector field that guides the planes.
The algorithm is under more tests, but it should be soon available for the general public. It is quite easy to employ, the user has to declare only the IDs of the planes, the communication topology (neighbors’ relationships) and the desired inter-angles. A detailed explanation will be posted soon in the wiki.
In the following video the planes exchange positions every second. Delays, out-of-date positions (GPS delays), packet losses, etc are expected to be (and actually they are) present. It is quite interesting to remark how robust the algorithm is. According to our calculations the impact of such nasty things are not very important (ofc up to a certain point) for the convergence of the algorithm.
In total 3 planes are used for the scientific measurements and an extra one for aerial footage of the other planes. They are all using Apogee boards with an extra sensor board developed in-house at Enac: the MeteoStick.
As many of you know a programmer and debugger is a tremendously useful tool for many Paparazzi UAV based autopilots like the Lisa/MX and Lisa/S.
Our friends at 1BitSquared are running a Kickstarter to make a new revision of their Black Magic Probe JTAG SWD debugger and programmer with the addition of the 1Bitsy. 1Bitsy is a development board using the same CPU as Elle0 and Lisa/MX Paparazzi autopilots. It can serve as a good prototyping platform for payload control or for your next autopilot project.
Every hobbyist and hardware enthusiast will find these boards to be an indispensable part of their tool kit. Check out their campaign and spread the word! 😀
The International Micro-Air Vehicle Conference and Competition was held last week in Beijing, China, organized by the Beijing Institute of Technology and the National University of Singapore.
As usual, the level of the teams involved in the competition is higher year after year and we had a great show. The team from the MAVLAB of TUDelft was participating to both indoor and outdoor session. During the outdoor, they unfortunately couldn’t show their best due to many communication issues, preventing them to fully use their RTK Bebop2 (and also some regressions in Paparazzi code, hum hum… 🙁 ).
The next day, the indoor team did its best to perform well. And despite the difficult tasks to pick up and drop objects, they tried hard until the end. It was worth the effort as they reached the 3rd place of the competition, a few points ahead the Spanish team of Madrid (CVG-UPM)! We could almost call it a draw as both team really did their best with great spirit.
But, this was not their only great achievement. The paper Control of a hybrid helicopter with wings by Christophe De Wagter and Ewoud Smeur received the Best Paper Award of the conference for their work on the control issues raised by the novel design of the Delftacopter and the solution they found to solve them. Congratulation to them and all the team involved in the Delftacopter!
This year’s Outback Medical Express mission requires a UAV to pick up and bring back a blood sample of an ill-fated person called “Outback Joe” located at an inaccessible roughly known location 30 kilometer away remote location with unknown terrain.
Powered by PaparazziUAV, the DELFTACOPTER is also equipped with state of the art on-board stereoscopic wide field of view computer vision.
45 knots at 300 watt
Most efficient speed
35 knots at 230 watt
Power usage in hover
Main battery energy
10000mAh ~ 225 Wh
FTS battery energy
250mAh ~ 2Wh
RPM in forward flight
RPM in hovering flight
Datalink 1 protocol
Iridium satellite communication
Datalink 1 range
Datalink 2 protocol
900 MHZ long range communication
Datalink 2 range
Maximum wind speed
All the best to the MAVLab Team and their DELFTACOPTER during their Outback Challenge adventures.
Some time ago, I found my old Game Boy at my parents’ house. So the first thing that came to my mind was: can I fly a drone with this ? (and also where is my Mario Bros cartridge).
So I spend some time searching the web to see if I could find some idea to solve my problem. And if it seems that piloting unmanned aircraft with a Game Boy is not so common, you can find everything you need to program it!
But you can’t expect to go directly to an old custom serial com port to a wifi-based drone without some intermediate steps:
Finally, the Game Boy is just sending the bitmask corresponding to the buttons being pressed (with an Arduino and a FTDI to convert Game Link signals to USB), and a small program on the ground station converts this into actual commands for the drone (an ARDrone2 from Parrot with an extra GPS in my case).
The week before the conference, a few teams of researchers gathered to share experiences and fly their drones at the Atmospheric Research Center of Lannemezan near the Pyrenees. Among them was some of the oldest users of Paparazzi: Martin Muller (http://blog.pfump.org), the team of Joachim Reuder from the Geophysical Institute of Bergen, the UAV Lab of ENAC and the French Meteorological Research Center who was hosting the event.
Many flights have been done, including for the ENAC lab, the first flight using ChibiOS v3 implementation and some autonomous catapult takeoff.
For those of us that use Paparazzi to fly multiple MAVs, the current GCS does a great job of managing and presenting just the right amount of information for safe flight. That being said, there’s always room for new tools. It’s my pleasure to introduce the Flying Robot Commander, a PPRZLINK enabled web application for managing multiple MAVs.
The Flying Robot Commander(FRC) is a Flask/python based RESTful web application that integrates with Paparazzi UAV via PPRZLINK. That’s right, you can now write python code to access/extend Paparazzi UAV capabilities (NOTE: one of the main complaints about the current Paparazzi GCS is that it’s written in ocaml). In addition to python, PPRZLINK also provides C and ocaml libraries for those that need them.
For more details related to the Flying Robot Commander, PPRZLINK and Paparazzi UAV in general, see the following links: