I am working on doing external control of an autopilot using an onboard linux computer running MAVROS. I found the topic on mavros entitled "setpoint_velocity," But when I send that to the autopilot in guided mode with ESCs unplugged, nothing happens. It should set the setpoints for velocity, but in looking at the logs, the dvelx and dvely did not change to comply. 

I know this is possible using the Px4 stack, but I would prefer to avoid the complexity of switching to that and stick with the ardupilot firmware on the pixhawk. 

My questions:

  • Is this offboard control capability implemented in Arducopter?  (including setpoint override control of position, attitude, and velocities)
  • If it isn't right now, is this an upcoming feature?
  • If still not, is there an equivalent way to do this that is implemented?
  • If not, do you have any other suggestions or should I continue the switch to Px4 stack?

Hardware: Pixhawk,RPi, 

Software: Arducopter 3.2.1,  Ubuntu/mavros

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Anyone have an answer to this?

Yes!  Sorry I never posted when I found more information. I guess when no one else seemed interested I just kinda forgot about it. 

If it is in guided mode, setpoint velocity commands do work. I honestly don't remember all of the details off the top of my head, but I am pretty sure it must be on the copter 3.3 which was probably what caused my problem when I posted this. It's been a while so I am a little fuzzy. But I think this is how it goes.

Firmware must be arducopter 3.3 or higher
Set to guided mode
Send setpoint_velocity command
Watch it work!

I was definitely able to get this to work fairly well, although I never did implement it completely. (My job on the project ended at proving that it worked). If you have any questions let me know, I can't promise anything but I'll dig up what I can.

Hey thanks for the quick response Jefferson!! I'm working some vision guidance that will use a companion computer (probably a Jetson TK1).  Like you, I prefer the arducopter vice PX4 firmware. Next step is to understand how to get the mavlink code working in c or c++, rather than run it in python. 

where you able to get it working on c++. Ive done the example from dev.px4.io but I need more information on how exactly to request the FCU for velocity, accel, 3d pos and orientation.

Hi David, were you able to get send velocity commands to make your drone move autonomously with GPS?

I am using only optical flow, but I am not sure how to implement it.

Hi  Vinh,

In case you are still trying to use OPTICAL control..

Are you trying to use OPTICAL CONTROL with camera on the DRONE or external camera?

ON DRONE control can be done using PX4FLOW, a 3DR camera..

Unfortunately this is all I have at this time.

Offboard can be done  using a setup similar to what Mr. Jaeyoung Lim does in video 1

the link is below:

Offboard control



Vinh K said:

Hi David, were you able to get send velocity commands to make your drone move autonomously with GPS?

I am using only optical flow, but I am not sure how to implement it.

Hi Jefferson,

     I am trying to control the drone with companion computer using mavros , I want to know how to set the launch file so I can use APM stack, Is it all the same with px4 stack and using qgroundcontrol?

Hi, What are the values you published to "setpoint_velocity" topic to control pitch and roll. Could you please share the code snipet if possible. Thanks

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