ArduPilot for multiple UAV ?

Hi everyone !I am planning to build a flying laboratory for automatic control development. I am really interested in using ArduPilot (The ArduPilot+ArduIMU config.) as the core, since it is simple, affordable and yet powerful (great work guys!!!).I have a special need of making two (or more) UAVs flying at the same time, they can exchange information on positions, velocities and their next 2 (or more) waypoints. Further, each UAV must update their own waypoints, based on the information received from the other(s). Do you think ArduPilot can be reprogrammed to do this task?If I need a larger programming memory or processor capability, can I combine 2 ArduPilot (or 2 ArduPilot Mega) and make them work together as 1 autopilot ?Best,Ony.

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  • I'll weigh in and say yes to all of the above. Not necessarily easy (but it's only time and money : ), and too much to describe here. But, in a nutshell:
    A) Gary is right regarding one pilot, one platform. But all this means is that someone has to be on the transmitter/failsafe for each vehicle, not that you can't fly multiple vehicles. Flying laboratory - is this for a university project or other research task? "... based on the information received from the other..." - swarming?
    B) two-way communications via Serial port output and use available pin for NewSoftSerial input (noting issues described on this site regarding performance [use binary data, as little data as possible, and/or programmatic re-sends]). Study XBee programming for help with communications via the hardware.
    C) Not clear whether you expect to pre-program waypoints and have each vehicle react to comms in flight (which could be simple, keeping in mind the available storage for code and waypoints, and/or the method to 'fetch' waypoints - SRAM or EEPROM or ??), or whether you really mean "update their own waypoints".
    D) keep it simple and trim any fat you can find/don't need (e.g., minimize strings, and store what you do need in flash, not sram). It is not clear what you mean by "work together as 1 autopilot", and it is not necessarily true that you would need a 2nd board, but if so ArduPilot to ArduPilot communications is possible via I2C, or ???

    Good luck, and let us all know if you proceed!
  • Thanks, I'll check the Paparazzi out.
  • Thanks for the concern, I will let my department aware of this issue.

    Yes, I'd love to have ArduPilot Mega onboard, but unfortunately I have to start my project right away, so ArduPilot is my best option for the time being (if it can handle 2 way communications). Is it possible to make the autopilot logic updating the waypoints?
  • 3D Robotics
    I would wait for ArduPilot Mega, which has native 2-way communications. But do note Gary's point, too.
  • Moderator
    Your biggest problem will be that regulators in most parts of the world will require, one pilot one airframe. Legal multiple vehicles and a single operator are a long way off!!!

    But thats a really negative post, I'm sure there will be some nicer ones!!
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