Swarm copters with Arducopter

Hi guys,

I have two Arducopters and I am planning to create a swarm type communication between them. 

Here is my setup:

1) Two similarly constructed Arducopters with APM 2.5+.

2) Both have Telemetry enabled


- I want to be able to control both of them via one Mission Planner, not two separate MP's and radios. I want to have one master copter and the other as the slave copter. Master, I control via radio and telemetry in Mission Planner (just as normal) and the other slave copter gets command like take off/ land from MP, etc and communicates with both master quad and Mission Planner (but slave copter may  not display its data on MP, that is still fine). I went through the Mission Planner C# code (and there is interesting something planned for swarms, is this already functional)?

- One USB Telemetry attached to my laptop (Windows OS running Missing Planner) detects both these copters? I believe I have to change the 'component ID' in code (C++ for APM and C# MP) for this? Is there a way to get around with it via Mission Planner? One Telemetry attached to Mission Planner and if I switch on two copters (having Telemetry), Mission Planner gets mad at me, shouts at me (random behaviors) - I think it gets awesomely confused as there is no distinction. All have the same system and component IDs.

Hope this can be helpful to others in the near future. Any ideas?

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  • the closest thing i did with swarm


  • Hello All.

    I have one query is it possible to connect 2 or more GCSs with single MAV ? If it is then how ?

    Mission Planner has hardcoded systemid = 255 and componentid = 190,so, if I connect one or more GCSs then how MAV will differentiate between those.

    • But, suppose if I go to the field where 1 MAV and GCS pair are already there and I install my own GCS and MAV pair on the same field so my question is that will it affect the ongoing communication occurring between first MAV/GCS pair ?.

  • Any progress on this Shyam?

    Did you try Mission Planner Swarming?


    • Hi @crico1999,

      I did not get to test swarm for sometime now. If I do, I will make a post ;)



  • On a separate note: SenseFly / EPFL have been looking into swarming for fixed wings for a long time. Now they offer this as product officially: http://www.suasnews.com/2013/10/25468/sensefly-releases-swarm-techn...

  • Did some looking around regarding multi-point communication / telemetry and it seems RFD-900 are capable of this. Plus they are fully compatible to the 3DR radios. So this seems to be a good choice for the Master-UAV. Still need to find out whether this can link to multiple 3DR radios in a multipoint scenario.

    Then the setup would be 3DR or RFD900 on GCS, RFD900 on Master UAV and 3DR on Slave-UAV(s). Why not using RFD900 on every node? Price and weight.

    Would that work, anybody have any comments?

  • That's interesting, I'd like to do something similar, although my copters are not identical ;-)

    So if I understand correctly, you want to connect two copters and one ground station (one 3DR radio) together as a mesh? As far as I know, the 3DR radios are only supporting point-to-point connections. Mesh might be possible with Xbee's. What are you using?

    My ideal case would be to have one ground station linked to a master UAV with a long-distance connection (e.g. RFD900?). And the master UAV (serving as a router/bridge for the slaves) connected to slave(s) UAV(s) with a mesh ad-hoc network (e.g. Xbee).

    Question to all: assuming we have a telemety link established, can we get a slave UAV to follow a master UAV in follow-me mode? That could be a good first step.

  • There are some long term plans to have swarm capability in Mission Planner. I don't believe there's a working implementation at this point in time.

    In the meantime, you could use the "Follow Me" mode, where the APM will follow a GPS position. Use CTRL+F in Mission Planner to get this function.

    You will need 1 instance of Mission Planner (the master) sending out the updated GPS position and a 2nd instance of Mission Planner (the slave) in Follow Me mode reading the GPS position from the master Mission Planner.

    I'm not sure how "experimental" this approach is, so you may want to be ready to take manual control just in case :)

  • Sounds great. Probably can't really contribute much useful, just a hint to maybe get you going with the detection of multiple vehicles. Try QGroundControl. I only tested it once to see the difference to Mission Planner and it seemed to be made specifically to handle several vehicles over the mavlink protocol....

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