"Cruise control" for an e-glider.

I am building an e-glider that is controlled normally until you release the sticks. Then the autopilot kicks in and keeps the model around and starts looking for thermals or starts the motor when the glider is too low. No waypoints, its all about finding thermals.

 

Here is a video of my first long autonomous flight.
  

Reichard Champion ATV 2011 from Glider UAV on Vimeo.

 

2013 Update

Finally, an update about my project:

I have converted the telemetry log into subtitles, so You can see what's going on. This video explains a "Thermalling method for Model Glider Autopilots" in more detail.

I am gradually replacing my autopilot code with MatrixPilot. Please have a look and feel free to comment.

 

2014 Update

Local Endurance Thermalling mission in MP

Currently I fly with a Topmodel CZ Linea with an Auav3 autopilot and a Topmodel CZ Fantasy with a UDB5 autopilot board.

Recently I removed my "ATV autopilot pic-chip", so that I now have a 'MatrixPilot only' solution.
I wrote a LOGO script and some extra commands.

!!!!!   The code is public and free to use   !!!!!

I posted al the needed code and mods here: (May 24 '14)

   "Support for (E-)Glider local endurance thermalling mission in MP"
     Post on MatrixPilot forum

Special thanks to the MatrixPilot development team.

GliderUav

2015 Update

MatrixPilot got upgraded with the helical turn method. I changed my code to follow this development.
To add the auto land function, i needed better brake control. After that i created the auto landing script.
The codebase has moved to Git. My code is here: https://github.com/KeesGuijt/MatrixPilot.

2016

2017

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Hi GliderUAV, 

 

Thanks for posting your project. This is a cool algorithm - was it your idea? I really appreciate how lean it is. 

 

Best, 

 

Adam 

 

Hi Adam,

Yes I did. I wrote it when I was still using pic16f88 devices, so it had to be small and simple. Glad you like it.

Looks like something like a uc could be added to the osd and telemetry systems more and more modelpilots are starting to use.

GliderUAV.

GliderUAV,

I've put it on my list to consider and evolve in my next slope-soaring setup. You'll get a credit in the comments.

What are you programming on now? I used an Arduino for my last project - an autopilot for my sailboat. I'm looking at the UAV DevBoard for my next.

Don't know what you mean by "like a uc could be added to..." in your reply. Do you mean you could use a matrix representation of the 2d space on the osd? Absolutely. Could look like "radar" on early videogames. Great idea. 
- Adam 

 

Adam,

 

I'm sorry I was a little vague there. I like how you interpreted that, good idea really!

 

I ment to say this: I use a MicroController (some say uC), a pic18F2550 and program it with JAL v2.4O. It would be fun to take one of those low cost telemetry/osd sets and by adding a $3 chip turn them into an working autopilot....

 

I think You saw the ThermoPilot project by Jean-Louis Naudin?  Be shure to checkout his work because he is working on slopesoaring as well.

 

GliderUAV

Have you though about adding hot air sensors somehow like thermal cameras can pick up? I'm also building a UAV but not for thermaling.  My other hobby is paragliding and Ive always wondered about experimenting with using thermal goggles to find differences in air temperatures to find the thermals. Your project could be ideal to try this out with. Certainly if you can identify thermals would save a lot of time and energy searching for them randomly.

Lastly why not use solar film to recharge the batteries as well?. the whole wing could be covered in solar panel.

 

 

John,

Detecting the temperature of thermals would be challenging as thermals are only tenths of a degrees warmer than the surrounding air. Also some sort of depth percepion would be required, to know how far away the updrafts are. Maybe advanced videoprocessing combined with Schlieren technique or whatever could do this, but thats too much for me. That would be cool though...
Solarpanels could help to make real long flights, but for now, adding a litte battery capacity would buy a lot of extra flighttime for motorless flying.

Happy flying,
Glideruav.

Yes its certainly a challenge and Ill do some more researcher on it. I'm also thinking about how we fly looking for thermals by identifying terrain type. For example open fields generate more heat than forests. So perhaps the thermal camera could be looking at those and then calculate wind direction and drift to narrow down more likely areas for thermals. 

Something to keep an eye on is Sliver solar technology where the solar cell can be made into a very thin flexible film which would be ideal for aircraft wing skins. The cells also have nearly double the power capacity and can still generate power in much lower light conditions than conventional solar voltaic cells   http://solar.calfinder.com/blog/news/boise-city-to-build-thinnest-s...

Nice auto-soaring results.  Great to see others your interest and very glad to see you're having success.

Dan

Hi Dan,

 

Love what jou did with Aloft, is your record still standing?

Seems like http://soaring.goosetechnologies.com is dead. What url should I use to reference to Aloft, maybe http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=502046 ?

 

Meanwhile I am improving my ATV with a better microcontroller, sensors and software, but my main focus remains thermalling (better centering) and longer autonomous flights.

 

Regards,

GliderUAV

 

Hi,

Finally, an update about my project:

I have converted the telemetry log into subtitles, so you can see what's going on. This video explains a "Thermalling method for Model Glider Autopilots" in more detail.

<video>

I am gradually replacing my autopilot code with MatrixPilot. Please have a look and feel free to comment.

Cheers, GliderUav

Very cool project.  Thanks for sharing.  Good luck.

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