Maybe somebody heard about IMAV - International Micro Air Vehicle Conference and Flight Competition. This year it was held in Braunschweig, Germany, 3-6 July. I was there and presented a paper about my project - SmartAP. Also our team took part in flight competition. Here is a short summary of the trip.
In general, teams from all European countries took part in conference and competition. Moreover, there were people from the United States, Australia and China too.
Ok, let's start. We got to Germany by plane, so the quad was disassembled and packed to prevent it from damages.
The next day was the first conference day. That day we (me and my co-author) made a presentation in "Guidance, navigation and control" section. The subject of my paper is "Micro Air Vehicle Autopilot For Commercial and Research Purposes":
The flight competition is divided into two parts - Outdoor and Indoor.
Each of both parts is also divided into two groups - Autonomy and Dynamics. In Autonomy one a vehicle had to fly far enough, recognize horizontal and vertical targets, then fly through arches, drop a ball and make precision landing. The Dynamics section required to demonstrate as many time as the vehicle can pass through arches in a certain amount of time (4 minutes).
Only FPV or fully autonomous piloting were allowed.
We took part only in Outdoor, generally because of our vehicle is too big to compete in indoor.
The good thing that we used the quad with our custom autopilot, presented the day before at the conference.
Here are some photos about what the other teams have:
The next day was dedicated to Indoor Flight Competition. Several teams took part in fully-autonomous mode. However, generally, participants flew in manual mode by FPV.
The other teams:
As for the main trends, the most important subjects at the conference, in my opinion, were dedicated to autonomous navigation based on onboard video processing or laser range finders. Significant part of papers was about aerodynamics, especially about the researches on the new concept types of micro air vehicles.
Approximately half of participants in Outdoor Autonomy took part in autonomous mode and another half in manual FPV mode. However, in both Outdoor and Indoor dynamics almost all the teams took part in manual FPV mode.
It's very pleased to see the efforts to fly autonomously, but almost every team crashed at least once during their flights. Therefore, manual FPV flight remains to be more predictable and reliable so far. But likely so far...