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Gisela & Joe Noci's Discussions

MAP calibration algorithms - has any one done this?

Started this discussion. Last reply by Michael Johnston Jun 4, 2013. 1 Reply

Map Calibration using Affine techniques -Has anyone out there done any work on map calibration using 3 or more known points on a paper scanned map, or a Google Earth map? As you know, you cannot use…Continue

Tags: nampilot, calibration, Map

My Blog On Turret Gimbal obliterated by Moderator?????

Started this discussion. Last reply by Michael Pursifull Feb 5, 2013. 1 Reply

I posted a blog on a Ball turret Gimbal design and build It appeared in DIYDrones with only 2 of the nine photos, and the text all garbled in between!! The preview before posting it was fine .Was…Continue

Tags: SurVoyeur, Gimbal, Turret, Nampilot

Optimizing Wing Aerofoil for UAV long range flight ( not for endurance)

Started this discussion. Last reply by Marco Ricci Apr 3, 2013. 37 Replies

Good Day all,I have been spending a lot of time analyzing many different aerofoil profiles to optimize said profiles for a very specific flight regime. If there are any experts with good knowledge on…Continue

Inertial Sensor Temperature compensation and orthogonality offset corrections

Started Nov 4, 2012 0 Replies

Hi Chris, maybe Bill (P) and other sensor boffins..Is there any temperature compensation and sensor orthogonality offset ( measured on a rate table maybe) done on the APM series autopilots? Has any…Continue

 

Gisela & Joe Noci's Page

Latest Activity

Gisela & Joe Noci commented on Andrew Tridgell's blog post Lidar landing with APM:Plane
"Well done Andrew!  Good to see you are using the Lightware Laser Rangefinders to benefit here! We now have 4 different plane types - from 5kg up to 66kg - all working well in auto takeof and autoland using those LRF's - they certainly have…"
Friday
Gisela & Joe Noci commented on Gisela & Joe Noci's blog post Dipole style antenna for 433MHz
"Hi Jeff,  Yes mounting the V horizontally works fine - you may just need to orientate the ground antenna to get the best signal - but it will work fine. Re the balun - unfortunately no, the coax still needs to exit symmetrically - that is the…"
Aug 8
Jeff commented on Gisela & Joe Noci's blog post Dipole style antenna for 433MHz
"As a followup question.  If you place a balun on the v-dipole as per your instructions, does it matter what direction the feeder cable runs out the back?  ie: do you need to keep it running straight for a certain distance?"
Aug 7
Jeff commented on Gisela & Joe Noci's blog post Dipole style antenna for 433MHz
"Hi Joe, As usual the information you have provided is extremely helpful.  Thank you. Would it be effective to use a V-dipole horizontally located on the wing of the plane? I know everyone is looking for a good horizontal solution, thus the…"
Aug 7
Julien Dubois commented on Gisela & Joe Noci's blog post Laser Rangfinder for Auto takeoff and Landing - 25kg Composite Pusher UAV Project
"Ok, then I put Lightware on the top of my LRF product list because i'll probably need this kind of sensor for a future project. They are relatively cheap compared to the 8K one and with a decent range"
Aug 6
Hein du Plessis commented on Gisela & Joe Noci's blog post Laser Rangfinder for Auto takeoff and Landing - 25kg Composite Pusher UAV Project
"I'm currently completing a Mini Mugin (2.6m) for a client. If it works well he'd like to upgrade to a larger platform. There's the 3m mugin and the 4.45m one, but I'm very keen on a locally produced one. Budget is around 30k for…"
Aug 6
Gisela & Joe Noci commented on Gisela & Joe Noci's blog post Laser Rangfinder for Auto takeoff and Landing - 25kg Composite Pusher UAV Project
"Hello Julien,  No I have not tried other LRF's , for the simple reason that there are many pitfalls in LRF design, and the un-initiated fall foul of not having spent the required school fees! One of the big issues related to how the LRF…"
Aug 6
Gisela & Joe Noci commented on Gisela & Joe Noci's blog post Laser Rangfinder for Auto takeoff and Landing - 25kg Composite Pusher UAV Project
"Hello Hein, I guess the UAV would be 'purchasable' but not at DIY budgets....We are presently upgrading the autopilot to our latest version hardware, a much more powerful processor, sort of 800mips, with FPU, etc - the reason being we are…"
Aug 6
Julien Dubois commented on Gisela & Joe Noci's blog post Laser Rangfinder for Auto takeoff and Landing - 25kg Composite Pusher UAV Project
"Ok, great, thanks a lot for feedback! SF02, right, nor RF. This cheaper one would be interested for developping because crashes are common during alpha testing phasis and it's better to minimize the cost until a working system. BTW, do you…"
Aug 6
Hein du Plessis commented on Gisela & Joe Noci's blog post Laser Rangfinder for Auto takeoff and Landing - 25kg Composite Pusher UAV Project
"Beautiful machine! Is the UAV version available to buy? Obviously Nampilot has better contacts than us hobby folks :)"
Aug 6
Cronselaar commented on Gisela & Joe Noci's blog post Laser Rangfinder for Auto takeoff and Landing - 25kg Composite Pusher UAV Project
"For those people in the rest of the world that do not know... The aircraft in question is the Ahrlac. A totally South African designed and built aircraft. If not mistaken the first for SA by Aerosud and the Paramount Group I've seen the…"
Aug 6
Gisela & Joe Noci commented on Gisela & Joe Noci's blog post Laser Rangfinder for Auto takeoff and Landing - 25kg Composite Pusher UAV Project
"Hi Iskess, The autopilot and flight control software is our own product. Nampilot"
Aug 5
Gisela & Joe Noci commented on Gisela & Joe Noci's blog post Laser Rangfinder for Auto takeoff and Landing - 25kg Composite Pusher UAV Project
"Hi Julien, Yes I have. Of the many autolandings done with this aircraft during testing, half were with SF02 ( I presume you meant SF, not RF??) and half with the SF10 - We have standardized on SF10 because it is much smaller and lighter - well…"
Aug 5
Julien Dubois commented on Gisela & Joe Noci's blog post Laser Rangfinder for Auto takeoff and Landing - 25kg Composite Pusher UAV Project
"Very interesting post!! Have you tested the cheaper RF02/F?"
Aug 5
Quadzimodo commented on Gisela & Joe Noci's blog post Laser Rangfinder for Auto takeoff and Landing - 25kg Composite Pusher UAV Project
"Thanks Gisela & Joe, your posts are always fantastic!"
Aug 3
Justin Martin commented on Gisela & Joe Noci's blog post Laser Rangfinder for Auto takeoff and Landing - 25kg Composite Pusher UAV Project
"+1, can't wait to see APM with successful landings. I personally feel this is one of the only things holding APM back from playing with the big dogs (IE, Piccolo.)"
Aug 3

Profile Information

About Me:
Software/Hardware Engineer, Aircraft designer.
Please tell us a bit about your UAV interest
UAVs in civilian aerial photography and Anti-Poaching applications
Hometown:
Swakopmund

Gisela & Joe Noci's Blog

Laser Rangfinder for Auto takeoff and Landing - 25kg Composite Pusher UAV Project

Posted on August 3, 2014 at 10:00am 18 Comments

Pictured above is a twin tail boom Pusher Composite UAV made by Paramount Advanced Technologies. It was fitted with our autopilot and flight control software and we spent a few weeks flight tuning the system and implementing full auto takeoff and auto landing modes.

About 4m wingspan, pusher…

Continue

More Laser Rangefinder based landings - from the NamPilot

Posted on June 26, 2014 at 6:59am 5 Comments

Seeing Andrew Tridgell's post on the SF02 LRF used for landings on APM, I thought I would post some flight logs of our landings using the same rangefinder.…

Continue

More 433 MHz antenna - the 1/2wave Ring Radiator

Posted on May 30, 2014 at 9:15am 35 Comments

This is a reasonably compact, linearly polarised and well behaved antenna, with a gain , when well made, of around 1dBD    ( 1dB more than a dipole). It is smaller than the Big wheel and the Skew Planar wheel, and I have used it very successfully on 868MHz on our SurVoyeur UAV.

It is derived from a 1/2wave ring, located some distance above a large conducting ground plane. The ring is at a point on its circumference shorted to…

Continue

Dipole style antenna for 433MHz

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 3:06pm 29 Comments

Hugues and a few other folk have been looking at using dipoles on 433MHz, I presume this to be the telemetry or RCS radio frequencies used by them. 

I have been playing with some concepts here to try come up with a repeatable implementation with reasonable performance.…

Continue

Comment Wall (24 comments)

At 4:56pm on September 22, 2010,
T3
William Premerlani
said…
Hi Gisela,

We have made good progress with wind estimation. It is now incorporated into MatrixPilot. The theory is described here.

With respect to the cross-coupling of the acceleration into pitch estimation during a launch, we have not addressed the issue yet, it is not high up on my list. Paul Bizard did a lot of simulations, and found values of the PI feedback gains that were a reasonable compromise between rejection of gyro drift, and rejection of acceleration on takeoff. I think the time constant is between 10 and 15 seconds.

Beyond that, there are many things you could do, including turning off the PI roll-pitch compensation during high acceleration. There are many people who are using this approach.

Finally, you might want to take a look at the uavdevboard website, or join its discussion group.

Best regards,
Bill
At 5:05pm on September 22, 2010,
T3
William Premerlani
said…
Hi Gisela,

One more thing I forgot to mention, I don't recall whether it is mentioned in the "DCM document":

You can approximately adjust the accelerometer value along the axis parallel to the fuselage by computing the forward acceleration from the stream of GPS velocity reports. Although this does not help much during high acceleration launches, it will do a reasonable job once the plane is in flight, because the errors caused by the GPS dynamic behavior as the plane accelerates and decelerates tend to cancel each other out.

Best regards,
Bill
At 12:03pm on October 2, 2010,
T3
William Premerlani
said…
Hi Gisela,
You asked:
"(1) ...I assume that in a normal body axis convention (as in ArdIMU as opposed tp MatrixPilot ie X is +ve forward - this would be the fisrt column - rxx, rxy, rxz)?"

You are correct.

"(2) You mention that the plane must change attitude for this to work - and then refer to the denominator of Equ6. Now Equ6 computes the estimated airspeed, and if the denominator is zero, this cannot be computed. Is this the reason behind your statement?"

Yes.

" If in fact I have a measure of airspeed - via a pitot - and hence do not need to compute equ6 - can I then be computing regardless of the planes change of (or lacl of chnage) in attitude?"

Yes.

Best regards,
Bill
At 3:25am on October 3, 2010, Gisela & Joe Noci said…
Hi Bill
Thanks for the answers above. I would like to take these questions further, relating specifically to the use of GPS CourseOverGround to determine Yaw Gyro Bias

In the DCM theory document on page 21, you comment that the assumptions made when using GPS CourseOverGround (as opposed to actual Aircraft Heading – the direction in which the aircraft is actually pointing) are violated in the case of strong wind. This I understand.

However, if I am prepared to accept that the value of “yaw” as will be computed from the resulting DCM matrix is in fact a “course over ground” as opposed to an “aircraft heading”, and that the prime purpose here is as accurate a determination of yaw gyro bias as possible, that this is achieved irrespective of wind?

(The advantage of this would be that we would not be contaminating the errorYaw vector with what can only be a best estimate of wind. As this vector gets combined with the errorRollPitch vector to compute the final correction vectors, I assume any inaccuracies in the errorYaw vector will affect all gyro bias values – not only yaw).

Regards,
Gisela
At 4:01pm on October 9, 2010,
T3
William Premerlani
said…
Hi Gisela,

Regarding the effect of the wind on yaw gyro drift correction, the wind is relevant only during turns.

If your flight plan involves mostly long straight paths with turns only once in a while, you do not need to account for the wind if you use GPS course over ground to compensate for yaw drift. The controls will rotate the plane the exact amount needed for the wind.

However, unless you somehow measure and account for the wind in the navigation calculations, there will be a temporary yaw error after a turn, that will gradually dissipate.

An example might help. Suppose the plane is flying along at 10 meters/second airspeed with a cross wind of 5 meters/second. It will be crabbing into the wind with an angle of 30 degrees. Then suppose the navigation controls decide to make a 90 degree turn into the wind. In other words, navigation commands a change in course over ground of 90 degrees. It will rotate the plane by 90 degrees. However, all that is needed to turn directly into the wind and to change the course over ground by 90 degrees, is a 60 degree turn measured by the IMU, so with a 90 degree turn, the plane will wind up flying with a 30 degree error in course over ground. That will show up in the GPS course over ground, and the drift compensation algorithm will respond to it, but it will take 10 or 20 seconds to do so. During those 10 or 20 seconds, there will be a difference between the desired and actual course over ground.

So, if your flights will involve frequent turns, it is best to account for the winds in the navigation calculations. You can either estimate the winds using the method I have suggested, or you can use a magnetometer to be able to distinguish between course over ground and the direction the plane is pointing.

You can also simply ignore the wind if you are willing to tolerate temporary course errors.

Best regards,
Bill
At 4:44pm on October 10, 2010,
T3
William Premerlani
said…
Hi Gisela,


Actually, cross coupling between the earth and body frames of references reduces the drift of the yaw gyro, without any negative effect on roll and pitch. Tests have proven out the theory of an interesting effect. Consider an extreme case, either as a thought experiment, or as a real test, to see what is going on:

1. Start up your IMU close to being level, without any GPS or magnetometer connected for yaw drift. Program it to perform roll-pitch drift compensation only. During initialization, gyros will be approximately zeroed. After some time, the accelerometers will perfectly lock the roll and pitch. Yaw will slowly drift, at a small residual rate, because there is not any yaw feedback.

2. Rotate the IMU by 90 degrees, either by rolling or pitching, so that the axis of the Z gyro is horizontal instead of vertical.

3. Wait a few minutes. During this period of time, the accelerometer information is zeroing the Z gyro! During the same period, one of the other gyros will not receive any feedback, but it will be close to be perfectly zeroed, so its drift will be low.

4. Rotate the IMU back to level. The Z gyro is now zeroed, although the yaw angle is random.

There is another effect that you might be interested in: the bottom row of the direction cosine matrix is independent of yaw, so any yaw drift does not impact it. The reason for this is that the bottom row represents the earth frame Z axis as seen in the body frame. Because the earth frame Z axis does not contain any yaw information, it appears the same in the body frame, no matter what the yaw angle is. In fact, if you are only interested in roll and pitch, you only need to compute the bottom row of the matrix, which can be computed using only the bottom row information, and all three gyro signals. The fact that the Z gyro may have some drift is irrelevant, it all works out ok.

Best regards,
Bill
At 11:47am on October 11, 2010,
T3
William Premerlani
said…
Hi Gisela,

I think I see what you are missing, but it is going to take some thought on my part to figure out a way to explain it.

In the meantime, here is another data point for you:

There is a roll-pitch-yaw demo program available along with MatrixPilot. I use it routinely for testing purposes. I run it without any sort of yaw compensation, I set the yaw error to zero. The bottom row of the matrix perfectly tracks roll and pitch, no matter what is going on with yaw. The other elements are more or less ok, except there is a slow yaw drift.

I will see if I can think of another way to explain why things work out so well. In the meantime, here are some factors that may be involved in explaining the discrepancy, perhaps you will be able to explain it:

1. MatrixPilot and the roll-pitch-yaw demo software record the gyro offsets during power up, so once the DCM algorithm gets running, the residual drifts are rather small.

2. If the board is level, yaw drift has no impact on roll and pitch. In other words, if roll and pitch are zero and roll and pitch rate are zero, there is no way for yaw to change roll and pitch.

3. If the board is not level, there is enough information from the accelerometers to compensate for yaw drift, so there will be yaw lock.

4. If GPS is available to achieve a strong yaw lock, there may be a phase angle error in yaw, but the yaw rate error will be zero.

5. It is true that all three gyros are involved in computing the bottom row of the matrix. However, there are linear combinations of drifts that will not impact roll and pitch.

I think what may be going on in your simulations is that possibly you are not including the effect of roll-pitch compensation and/or you are introducing arbitrary yaw gyro errors?

As long as the yaw gyro error is a small offset (a few degrees per minute), everything should work out ok.

I have run out of room in this message, I will send you another later.

Best regards,
Bill
At 2:39pm on October 11, 2010,
T3
William Premerlani
said…
Hi Gisela,
Perhaps the amount of Z gyro offset that you were using was too large. That will result in numerical errors due to neglect of second order terms, followed by an effect I call "coning" that is caused by in interaction of the second order terms with normalization, followed by a failure to achieve roll-pitch lock.
Otherwise, the theory says that yaw compensation is orthogonal to roll-pitch compensation, as long as roll-pitch lock has been achieved. Here is why:
The roll-pitch rotation error vector is computed by taking the cross product of the last row of the matrix, with the gravity vector measured by the accelerometers. Since gravity is vertical in the earth frame, the computed roll-pitch error vector is in the horizontal plane of the earth frame.
The yaw rotation error vector is computed by taking the cross product of two vectors that are both in the horizontal plane of the earth frame. The result is parallel to the earth frame vertical.
Therefore, the yaw rotation error vector and the roll-pitch rotation error vector are orthogonal in the earth frame. Therefore they are orthogonal in the body frame. Therefore, an error in the yaw compensation does not impact the accuracy of the roll-pitch compensation.
Best regards,
Bill
At 2:51pm on October 11, 2010,
T3
William Premerlani
said…
Hi Gisela,

Another thought...in case you have not seen them, you might be interested in Robert Mahony's papers. He goes into more mathematical detail.

The point I was trying to make in my previous comment is that:

1. When the IMU is not level, the drift compensations compute rotation corrections that are applied to all three physical gyros, because each gyro receives a weighted sum of the three elements in each rotation error vector.

2. When roll-pitch lock has been achieved, the roll-pitch rotation compensation error vector is orthogonal to the yaw rotation compensation error vector, in any frame of reference. So, when the two rotation error vectors are transformed from the earth frame into the body frame and mapped onto the physical gyros, they should not interfere with each other.

I think I understand your question, which I think boils down to, "Do errors in the yaw rate gyro create errors in roll-pitch values". If that is the question, my answer is that, provided the rate errors are not so large as to break lock, the roll-pitch values should not be impacted by yaw error.

Best regards,
Bill
At 2:27pm on October 12, 2010,
T3
William Premerlani
said…
Hi Gisela,

How much discrepancy in roll-pitch are you seeing? There are a number of known sources of small errors, including:

1. Forward acceleration.
2. Linearization of the non-linear update equation.
3. GPS filtering.
4. Side slip introduces errors in centrifugal compensation.

Are you running simulations?

Best regards,
Bill

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