I am interested in a (physical or simulated) UAV that I can control with my own parallel C code.

That is, I want to be able to build my own "artificial-intelligence" autopilot. This would be part of a research study to see  whether current AI techniques allow for much smarter "human-like" autopilots than are currently deployed. But to do that, I need a UAV that allows me to control it with my own code.

Put differently,  I need to be able to capture sensor data (altitude, speed, etc) from the UAV in a form that I can feed into an AI program that will then transmit control signals back to the plane, so a human will not be involved but rather the program will make the control decisions.

Might one of the DIY Drones be configured to make this easy  Or have other developers already fashioned "smart" autopilots that not only carry out missions but make decisions in flight (i.e., dynamically)?

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If you want to get REALLY in depth with a simulator before you move to practice application. Back in the early 2000s they used MAYA and a simple code plugin to program simple "AI" into simulated BattleBots, upload and people could download and test their bot vs others.

I found this with a simple search, I hope it at least points you in the right direction:

http://www.simplysim.net/blog/2010/08/02/realtime-3d-uav-simulation...

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