Check out today's awesome demo by Tridge. An ArduRover launches an ArduPlane! (Also note that the ArduPlane is flying beta ArduPlane software on the PX4 board. We're getting close to a dev release on that. Very exciting...)

[UPDATE] Tridge adds some details in the comments:

The SkyFun was in FBWA mode, with throttle off until after it lifted off the rover (the prop was resting on the APM on the rover, so zero throttle was important!). Both the rover and skyfun were running current APM git master. The SkyFun was using a PX4FMU board running the NuttX port of ArduPlane. Today was our first test flights of ArduPlane on the PX4, and it flew very well. Flight logs from today are here

The camera was being operated by our youngest club member Marias, who just got his MAAA gold wings today.

The reason we were doing this was to test the concept for possible use for launching our X8. We've found that hand launching the X8 with a heavy load on board is quite dubious, so we've mostly been using a bungee, but we thought a rover launch would be fun. Today was a test run with the SkyFun.

We've also built a catapult system for the X8 which we have yet to test.

Views: 3880


Developer
Comment by Andrew Tridgell on January 5, 2013 at 9:07pm

A bit more detail. The SkyFun was in FBWA mode, with throttle off until after it lifted off the rover (the prop was resting on the APM on the rover, so zero throttle was important!). Both the rover and skyfun were running current APM git master. The SkyFun was using a PX4FMU board running the NuttX port of ArduPlane. Today was our first test flights of ArduPlane on the PX4, and it flew very well. Flight logs from today are here: http://uav.tridgell.net/SkyFun/logs/2013-01-06/

The camera was being operated by our youngest club member Marias, who just got his MAAA gold wings today.


Developer
Comment by Andrew Tridgell on January 5, 2013 at 9:12pm

more detail ... the reason we were doing this was to test the concept for possible use for launching our X8. We've found that hand launching the X8 with a heavy load on board is quite dubious, so we've mostly been using a bungee, but we thought a rover launch would be fun. Today was a test run with the SkyFun.

We've also built a catapult system for the X8 which we have yet to test.


Developer
Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on January 5, 2013 at 9:26pm

Ha, you did it!  Looks like maybe you used a short course truck like I suggested?  Or a truggy?

Comment by Stephen Dade on January 6, 2013 at 2:05am

We used the Turnigy Trooper SCT Truck, with upgraded suspension. Top speed with the X8 on board was ~11m/s

The steering's still a bit off - I aim to fine tune it this week. Then we should be able to start setting waypoints for the Truck's APM and automate the takeoff procedure.

There's another video of us at http://youtu.be/1vr5h2jnUxI too


Developer
Comment by Randy on January 6, 2013 at 2:34am

...and here's the first flight of the ArduCopter firmware running on the PX4 board.  It's a little shakey at first because the PIDs were a little too high for this small frame.


100KM
Comment by u4eake on January 6, 2013 at 6:25am

Excellent news !!!  Marvellous achievements Tridge and Randy!


Developer
Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on January 6, 2013 at 6:46am

Randy: Awesome!

Comment by Greg Fletcher on January 6, 2013 at 11:09am

Tridge, Instead of using an APM rover truck to launch the X8, use a ground cradle controlled from the X8. Build a balanced tricycle gear/cradle with a steering servo and it's own battery and an optical link for the servo. The X8 will auto take off steering the ground cradle. Give it a little positive AOA and it should just fly off. Put a switch actuated break on the ground cradle to stop it. Let the plane be in control and TO under it's own power.


Developer
Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on January 6, 2013 at 11:14am

He wanted the launcher to be able to drive back by itself.

Comment by Gary McCray on January 6, 2013 at 12:11pm

Fantastic Randy and Tridge.

It seems to me that the PX4 is soon to become a completely parallel effort to the APM.

I personally would very much like to know specifically what the PX4's hardware advantages / disadvantages are in comparison to the APM and what sort of software development tools it will need.

From the Optical flow demo I saw of the PX4 it seemed to possibly be more "capable" than the APM and I have noticed that the optical flow part for the APM is no longer appearing for sale at 3D Robotics.

In any case it seems to me that the PX4 is deserving of at least a dedicated BLOG of it's own and soon will need updated Arducopter and Arduplane Wiki entries as well.

We really need an ongoing capability and status report on the PX4.

If there is already one somewhere else, please let me know the link.

Great plane launch concept too, I have no doubt that multicopters taking off and landing on mobile robotic platforms is not very far in the future at all too.

(Just a thought stretching wheelbase and and widening the track would really improve stability for what is essentially a mobile catapult.) You probably already thought of that, just saying.

BTW Randy, FlameWheels do make really good development platforms don't they.

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