"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.
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.
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.
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.
</p> <p>GliderUav</p> <p>____</p><p>2011</p><p></p><p>Why an ATV?<br/>- Wider search area<br/>- More control (confidence) when further out<br/>- Longer flight times, more searching<br/>- Less effort / concentration<br/>- More time to look around to find thermals (e.g. birds)<br/>- Safety (failure transmitter / receiver)<br/>- More efficient turning<br/>- More efficient use of motor<br/>- More options for trimming, mixing, speed, engine power<br/>- Documenting flights, instructive<br/><br/>The unit can navigate in an circular area of 400 m in diameter. The model remains between 100 and 300 m altitude, using the engine if needed. The pilot can fly model until one releases the controls. In case of problems, including failure of the transmitter, the unit automatically land in the middle of the area.<br/>An on-board camera allows video from the cockpit to be viewed after the flight. On the ground, I have a receiver that displays information about altitude, climb rate, airspeed etc. The data is also stored for later processing.<br/><br/>My goal is to develop techniques to have an e-glider autonomous fly as long and efficiently as possible. It is a challenge to make the electronics as small and simple as possible. My first goal was to have 100 m gain in a single autonomous flight using thermals, and I did. <br/><br/>I named my project ATV, which stands for Autonomous Thermalling Vehicle (and because I think the ESA variant is a wonderful piece of technology).<br/><br/>Height<br/>The unit starts with the electric motor. It then climbs to 200m, then the engine is switched off while full throttle is still given on the transmitter. When the unit has dropped to 100m, this suppression of the engine will be lifted, and the engine will start again.<br/><br/>Navigation<br/>Through four parameters, a semi circular area is defined within which the unit should remain. Once the aircraft is outside this area turns will be used to automatically bring it back in the area. It will only be flown within visual range.<br/><br/>Thermals<br/>When the unit reaches 200 m, the motor will turn off and it will search for thermals. Only if there is good reception of the RC controller and GPS receiver is good and the height is between 100 and 300, there a right turn will be started as soon as rising air is detected. <br/><br/>Currently I fly with a Reichard Champion and a Topmodel CZ Fantasy . These models are just big enough for all the electronics to fit, and have decent performance. The heart of the autopilot is a micro-controller of Microchip, the PIC18F2550.<br/>For the GPS receiver I have a GPS SkyTraq with updates every 1 second.<br/>To measure the altitude and airspeed I use the VAT / VAM 300 with VAT GS by ELV.<br/>I use an FMA CoPilot for stabilization.<br/>I have two XBEEPRO modules for telemetry, which also supports a beep vario on the ground.<br/><br/>GliderUAV</p>