Chris Anderson's Blog – April 2009 Archive (24)

Settings you can change in the ArduPilot 2.1 code

In addition to the setting you can change from the desktop utility program (rudder and elevator trim, max speed, waypoints and home postition), these are the settings you can change from within the code itself. They're all at the top of the first tab of the code (called "ArduPilot_EasyStar_WP_PRO). My annotations and instructions are in [brackets]:



Especially note the settings at the bottom that allow you to reverse servo travel and say whether your FMA sensor is pointed… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 26, 2009 at 9:00am — 17 Comments

Correction on ArduPilot 2.1 field setup procedures

We got mixed up on versions and said the way to set up ArduPilot 2.1 at the field to record the home GPS position and switch the GPS module to digital mode was to connect ground and pin D6. Actually, the correct method is to put a jumper over pins D6 and D7, just like ArduPilot 2.0. Apologies for the confusion (we're working with too many code versions, and the ones using the shields we now have in prototype will have a more graceful setup procedure).

Added by Chris Anderson on April 25, 2009 at 10:27pm — 4 Comments

Video of Sparkfun Autonomous Vehicle Competition



Figures. The one frame YouTube autoselects as the preview is the one where I look like an…

Added by Chris Anderson on April 23, 2009 at 8:30pm — 5 Comments

ArduPilot now red!

We've been green and blue but now we're red, to go with the overall Sparkfun board branding strategy. Oh, and we sold another 100 ArduPilots in the last five days, what with filling backorders and new… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 21, 2009 at 9:25pm — 2 Comments

A new Arduino library for GPS parsing

Looks like the Fathers of Arduino have smiled on us UAV guys. David Cuartielles, one of the core Arduino developers, has posted a very welcome set of GPS parsing routines that anyone can use:



"I crafted three examples (basic, medium, advanced) featuring the use of different techniques to parse the GPS sentences. If you write something like a data logger, or a GPS toy, post your link here and I will be more than happy to include your code in… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 21, 2009 at 6:30pm — 2 Comments

ArduPilot 2.1 released + setup utility and ground station

A big code release tonight--this is the full setup that won the Sparkfun autonomous vehicle competition. Along with general improvements to the code, this is the entire package of autopilot, setup utility and… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 21, 2009 at 12:30am — 170 Comments

Updated "NorthEast only" test mode code



I screwed up the original "NE" test mode code (which is used for testing servo direction and correct system setup) and the rudder only turned right. Sorry! I've fixed it and it's now in the Google repository. The video above shows how you can test it. Just walk around after the GPS locks and you should see the rudder respond as in the… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 19, 2009 at 3:14pm — 3 Comments

At least three of the rovers in the Sparkfun contest used ArduPilot, too

ArduPilot isn't just for planes--it's a great board for robot cars, too. At least three of the rovers in the Sparkfun Autonomous Vehicle Competition used our board for their vehicles, where it… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 18, 2009 at 1:30pm — 4 Comments

ArduPilot board upgraded to Atmega328, now available!

Production has now started on the new Atmega328 ArduPilot board and the Sparkfun listing has been updated. Backorders and new orders will be filled with this board starting on Monday.



UPDATE: the board are now in stock and ready for… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 17, 2009 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Great writeup of the Sparkfun competition



The official Sparkfun writeup is here. And it looks like the new ArduPilot boards with the Atmega328 are going into production… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 17, 2009 at 10:35am — 3 Comments

WE WON!!!!

With the plane down from the tree and taped up, we were the last team of the day to do the last run. The winds had picked up to 10-15mph, gusting even higher. We had one run to hit it. Jordi took off, went downwind and switched it into autonomous mode. It made the first waypoint (into the wind) easy and them zoomed by the second one, then took the third waypoint (downwind) really wide. Then it started heading back into the wind towards the finish line. Oh no, it looks like it's too close to the… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 15, 2009 at 2:00pm — 37 Comments

Yay Fire Department! Plane rescued!

The ladder crew came to the rescue! The plane lives to fly again in round three, the final round! I'm not sure how much more drama I can handle....this is nail-biting stuff. And the wind has picked up. Yikes---will we pull this off? Stay… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 15, 2009 at 1:39pm — 4 Comments

Sparkfun contest report: round 2

Competition is heating up! One rover did 1'32"! Our second run was better than the first. We did five laps, but only the first counted. Unfortunately, the judges said we missed the first waypoint and cut off a corner. Too bad, because we did it in 32 seconds! The other laps, naturally enough, were all perfect but didn't count.



We've increased the radius and pushed that first waypoint out a bit further for round three, in about an hour. Please wind don't pick up....



Oh, and… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 15, 2009 at 12:35pm — 2 Comments

Diaster! Plane in tree!

While landing after a test run, Jordi accidentally put it in the tallest tree around :-( Fire department called, men with ropes now climbing and attempting a heroic rescue. Praying for a miracle!



Our other EasyStar doesn't have the airspeed sensor so probably… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 15, 2009 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Sparkfun contest report: round 1

Round one is over and so far only one vehicle (a rover) has finished the course, in a time of about 2.5 minutes. ArduPilot did a perfect course, but unfortunately it looks like the Google Maps GPS coordinates are a little off, so we cut some corners. We're resetting the… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 15, 2009 at 10:52am — 4 Comments

Atmega328s are in!

We're here at Sparkfun and the Atmega328s came in yesterday! They populated three boards, which we're testing today. Assuming all goes well, we'll give the green light and production will start tomorrow! Backorders should be filled early next week.



Here's Jordi… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 15, 2009 at 8:35am — 4 Comments

How ArduPilots are tested at Sparkfun



While we're waiting for the Atmega328 chips to come in so we can restart ArduPilot production (hopefully by the end of the month), I thought you'd be interested in this picture of ArduPilot being programmed and tested, which showed up in a… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 12, 2009 at 9:25pm — No Comments

A near tragic ArduPilot story, saved by Xbee (and GPS)!

Jordi's been doing lots of test flights of ArduPilot 2.1 and 2.2 in preparation for the Sparkfun autonomous vehicle contest. These new versions of ArduPilot include throttle control to help it handle wind better. Today seemed like a good day to test that. Jordi describes what happened:



"Today i went to test my ArduPilor and winds were about 15mph with gusts of 25mph, EasyStar was having a difficult flight due to the high winds, and suddenly the EasyStar climb for… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 8, 2009 at 10:30pm — 11 Comments

UAVs launching UAVs



From the description: "MADS (Miniature Aircraft Deployment System) is an Aerospace Engineering senior design project at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The mission of MADS is to deploy flight-capable, autonomous, miniature aircraft (the SuperFly) from a larger unmanned aerial vehicle (the Sig Rascal 110). Visit http://recuv.colorado.edu/MADS/ for more information!"



(Actually the aircraft that are launched aren't really UAVs, since they're not guided… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 6, 2009 at 5:55pm — 4 Comments

PicoPilot stripdown

After stripping down AttoPilot, I thought it would be fun to compare it with the last-gen consumer autopilot, the PicoPilot NAT. There's quite… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 5, 2009 at 1:30pm — 28 Comments

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