I have been meaning to write up about this for a while, I have been working on my own project to produce a GPS targeting device aimed at being able to point and target GPS positions on the ground from the air and track them.
I am now at the stage where i have had a (semi) successful test of both hardware and software.
I have also added the ability to change GPS targets on the fly through a windows GUI and using the same code have assisted targeting i.e. you point the camera at something and all pitch, roll and yaw movements are cancelled out. The stabilisation mode just maintains pointing the camera at the ground.
Camera images are streamed live from the aircraft.
The scope for its application is large. for example placement of gain antennas on the aircraft for coms that can keep pointing at a ground station.
The hardware set up I am using is:
*arduimu v2 + magnetometer(to correct for yaw drift and get actual heading and not Course Over Ground)
*ATMega development board
*ATMega development shield
*locosys 10hz GPS
*APC220 for wireless coms
*a wireless camera
The solution I have produced uses two servos configured to move in pitch and roll as opposed to the usual pitch and yaw. this allows the use of a cheap pan and tilt kit, it also has the benefit of not having the problem with the yaw servo not being able to do 360 degrees and cable wrap whilst being able to cover a complete hemisphere of targets.
What i would like to do in the future is integrate my code with the current ardupilot code and also the front end C# mission planner GUI to allow for points of interest way points as well as the current mission way points. First I have to test my current set up a bit more thoroughly, you can see from the video that pointing is not a 100%. I will obviously need to speak to the current guys writing these applications and check that this is ok.
My current top things to investigate are.
*hardware alignment (is the imu aligned with the actual servos)
*actual GPS update rate I have configure 10Hz but it does not seem to be a true 10Hz more like once every 3 seconds)
planned future enhancements to name a few are:
*video overlay of camera target data e.g. range.
*I would love to integrate with eagle tree FPV so that pilot can select targets in flight and secondry camera tracks point of interest.
I will keep you posted and any questions are welcome.