And yet, another helicopter - autopilot question


I've read through as many helicopter-autopilot discussions here as I could find. I'm trying to quantify what the issues are with going from a fixed wing autopilot to a helicopter autopilot. What I've been able to gather, is that vibration seems to top the list. There also seems to be an issue with the number of controller channels - at least with the ArduPilot. Are there other ones to be worried about?


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  • Thanks folks for some excellent info. So, it does sound like vibration is the majo culprit, it affects everything and it does so at a high level. With the ArduPilotMega (8 channels) coming out later this year, that should alleviate the channel issues I've read about. Now what is needed is some novel way to account for vibration and its affects on sensors. Looking forward to the ArduPilotMega - 8 channels.
  • 3D Robotics
    We'll be releasing a version of ArduPilotMega (8 channels) for helicopters later this year. The hardware is ready, but need to work on the software.
  • Vibration - and its effects on MEMs sensors
    Heading - need magnetometer
    Barometric sensors may not work in the rotor downwash
    Pitot tubes won't work in the rotor down wash
    Ultrasound sensors for height above ground may not work due to vibrations
    even short GPS errors/outages and/or other short IMU errors need to be dealt with cleverly, where a fixed wing will stay up for a while and can recover when new GPS/IMU data comes in a helicopter will quickly be in a state from which it can't recover.
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