Not many people know but we have an piece of open source software for controlling an Antenna Tracker. It's been built by Tridge (Arduplane lead developer) for use in the outback challenge.
Sadly we have no documentation and, as far as I know, nobody except Tridge has used it. Still given Tridge's track record on building great software I suspect it works well and if it doesn't, I'm sure we can fix it. So to not let this piece of code go to waste, I'd like some help from people who are interested to give it a try and help me figure out how it works.
Here's the little that I know:
- It runs on any of our supported board (APM1, APM2, PX4, Pixhawk, Flymaple and perhaps VRBrain)
- For APM1/APM2 users building the code is as easy as opening our hacked ArduinoIDE and selecting File > SketchBook > Tools > AntennaTracker and then building in the normal way. For PX4/Pixhawk, our autobuilder doesn't automatically build a binary but I can provide one if people are interested.
- It can control a Pan and Tilt gimbal like this or this found on servocity.com.
- It may or may not require a GPS
- It must somehow receive vehicle position updates from the ground station which has the telemetry radio that is connected to the vehicle. Maybe through a USB cable. Tridge probably uses the python ground station, MAVProxy, to passthrough the vehicle position data to the AT but perhaps we can get MichaelO to build out a similar feature in Mission Planner.
- I imagine this antenna tracker could also be used to keep a camera focused on the vehicle which might be good for easing the burden on creating videos of our vehicles.
So if you want to give it a try please do and stick any findings, questions or issues below. Alternatively Issues can go into the issues list.
I'll start sticking things into the wiki as they become clear.