I've been trying to set up a control system test bench. Basically, I use to study the impact of data filtering algorithms on the control of fixed-wing drones. It occurred to me that I could utilize the SITL and HITL features of the ArduPilot project.

The plan is to first use X-Plane 11 to simulate the aircraft and then export the data from X-Plane to Matlab and process the data and then feed that to ArduPilot. A bit like this:

Matlab will basically function as a data filter. The idea seems simple enough but I would really appreciate some help/suggestions with a few issues. They are as follows:

1. What is the simplest way of installing the Ardupilot SITL on Windows? Don't get me wrong, I found this link and this other link which explains the process step my step. However, I won't get to install it myself. This will be on a university owned windows machine and I have to request the IT people there to do that for me. Which means that the instructions I provide them must reflect exactly what I want.

Any suggestions as to which link I should forward to them and what I should add or omit?

2. Is the Mission Planner necessary or useful? If an ArduPilot hardware emulator is built into the mission planner, couldn't I use that instead? That's assuming that the installation process for that is simple.

3. I have read somewhere in the ArduPilot wiki that an Extended Kalman Filter(EKF) is utilized within the code to filter the data. That gets in the way of my research. I guess my question about his one is if the platform will still function if I change the code to make it not use the EKF.

4. For the HITL, I have a few questions. I just realized that APM 2.X has been discontinued. What would you recommend as a simple but good alternative to run the code on and feed it back to X-Plane? Also, given how all the data will be "faked" by X-Plane, do I even need to get the full system? Shouldn't the microcontroller alone do the job?

Thanks for reading. Any help with sorting this out will be greatly appreciated.

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