ArduPilot Mega moves off the bench and into the air

Progress report: The ArduPilot Mega v1.0 firmware has reached a flyable state!


There is a lot of work left to do before v1.0 is ready for its beta release, but things are progressing. At present STABILIZE and FLY_BY_WIRE_A are working well. Full 4 channel control has been implemented. On board data logging is really making me smile.

Jason Short and I are working closely together and working through the navigation parts of the code. This will probably take just a little longer than just one of us ironing it out, but will result in a better end result. The big change is that we are changing from an architecture that supports a navigating a series of waypoints to an architecture that supports executing a series of commands. This turns out to be a little more complicated than expected, but will allow for much more refined mission scripting.

WE NEED YOU: If you would make a good alpha tester we could really use your help. Both Jason and I have some limitations that won't allow us to test fly nearly as often as we would like. I will probably only be able to test fly 2-3 times in the next 3 weeks. Alpha testers need to work closely with us to test out particular functionality and feed data back to us. If you are interested please PM me!!

We hope to have a beta release by the end of July. If you are using the code prior to the beta release you can expect to find that the code in the repository is changing frequently and from one day to the next there may be sweeping changes.

Views: 445

Comment by Jeff Taylor on June 28, 2010 at 8:44pm
Where is the ardupilot mega code repository?

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on June 28, 2010 at 9:07pm
Jeff, it's here but we really don't recommend that anyone but the core dev team use the code yet. First, it will probably crash your plane. Second, we're not ready to answer any questions or give any technical support yet. Once we release a zip file version, we'll be able to handle the regular alpha/beta testing process.
Comment by Jeff Taylor on June 28, 2010 at 9:16pm
Sounds great, thanks.

Doug I'm glad to hear about the command based architecture! Keep up the good work.
Comment by Dave Whittington on June 29, 2010 at 6:24am
Doug,
I have the hardware boards (as you saw on the Mega forum) + ublox +RC + EasyStar (been flying it manually for 6 months).I can read (and modify slightly) the code as well. Let me know if I can help.
One question - is the MANUAL mode truly manual - i.e. if the APM program hangs, can we still control it?

Dave W.
Comment by Dr Mike Black on June 30, 2010 at 3:59pm
Got the hardware guys (even if the store didnt send me 'nightmare to find in the UK' pin headers!!!), happy to be tasked! :~)

let me know if you need anything.

Mike.
Comment by george on July 2, 2010 at 5:10am
If it can handle a flying wing then I can beta test as I do this full time. PM me if you could use my help.
Comment by Christof Schmid on July 9, 2010 at 10:15pm
Gentlemen

May I make two suggestions to the AP Mega Software Team.

1. It would make sense to implement an aileron differential to keep the plane level when navigating. to be set in config.h with + or - values in %
2. We should be able to read the current draw from the main battery together with the voltage to calculate the energy used/remaining from/in the battery.

I was looking at the APM_config.h and saw that opinions are required for the section 0-1. In my opinion, 4 channel should be standard. If somebody wants to control rudder manually, he can bypass the AP.

Thanks for the superb job.

Christof

Developer
Comment by Doug Weibel on July 10, 2010 at 4:44am
Christof - thank you for the suggestions.

2 - We do not have hardware to support current measurement. This would be a useful addition and pretty easy from a firmware standpoint. Perhaps it would be easiest to do it with the AttoPilot voltage and current sense breakout board. I'll add it to the to-do list, but it will be a ways down the road.

1 - Can you elaborate on what you mean by aileron differential. My understanding of aileron differential is to set a system up such that the the aileron travelling up will move a different amount that the aileron moving down. This is optimal from an aerodynamic perspective for some airframes. From your question, however, it appears you may be requesting that we force the airplane to skid corners by using opposite aileron and rudder so that it will remain wings level during turns. Please clarify your request.

0 - Four channel is the default. The option FOUR_CHANNEL 0 is not for people who want to control rudder manually, but rather for people who don't have ailerons, or don't have a rudder. In fact it doesn't do anything at present, but was put there in case it is sensible to do something different between the 3 and 4 channel cases. If not, it will disappear in a future revision.

Thanks,
Doug
Comment by Christof Schmid on July 10, 2010 at 6:12am
Hi Doug

2. I know that we do not have the hardware at hand. But it would be extremly useful to have this information available in the GCS. There are many sensors available in the market. It would be good to pick one or two (jeti has nice products too) and reserve/build a SW interface for them. To add it to the to do list is fine.

1. My request was a bit unclear. I meant normal aileron differential, that the aileron travelling up will move a different amount than the aileron moving down. This to keep the fuselage in position and only turn the plane around the long axis. A plane set up correct with aileron diff will be much easier to navigate with the AP.

0. ok, I understand.


Best Regards

Christof

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