SLUGS Team's Posts (3)

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SLUGS AP: Fully Flight Tested and Open Source

So after endless hours in the lab I am happy to report success in all fronts of the autopilot and making the GIT repository publicly available. The project's website has been updated to reflect the new hardware version and all the changes in the software. New videos have been added to our video section showing some air and ground footage.A new blog entry presents some plots of the Autopilot performance when doing waypoint tracking and the address of the GIT repository containing all the project.
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Waypoint tracking is one of the most sought-out features in an autopilot. Essentially it allows the end-user to program (generally via a map or an aerial picture) a path (composed of waypoints) that the UAV is commanded to track. When we started working on SLUGS it was clear that this would be the first high-level feature we would add.Today I am happy to report that it is fully working in software simulation and hardware-in-the-loop (HIL). You can read a bit more about it here and watch a couple of movies showing results from a Simulink software simulation and a full Hardware-in-the-Loop test.
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SLUGS Autopilot. Soon to become Open Source.

The Santa Cruz Low-cost UAV GNC System (SLUGS) is a high-end UAV Autopilot that is currently under development by the Autonomous Systems Lab at the University of California Santa Cruz. Although not ready for prime time, the project's website shows some significant progress towards a fully functional platform.The SLUGS autopilot is heavily geared towards research in small to medium sized UAVs. Great care has been taken to assure that it has enough processing power for moderately complicated control tasks and at the same time is easily reprogramable via Simulink. This effectively allows to rapidly iterate from simulation to implementation with no intermediate coding.The developed architecture physically decouples sensor integration and INS filtering from the control algorithm and communications by using two 33Fj256MC710 dsPIC Digital Signal Controllers (DSC) interconnected via a high-speed Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) bus. The SLUGS autopilot has been designed to be modular and extendable in order to extend the sensor and peripheral suite as the need arises via CAN bus daughterboards.The Ground Station Software has been developed to decode the incoming telemetry messages from the SLUGS AP. It also works as a Hardware-In-the-Loop interface to Simulink and is the central point to configure the Autopilot.One of the main features of the SLUGS AP is its ability to interact with virtually any Simulink model via a Hardware-in-the-Loop Simulator. There is a predefined protocol to send simulated sensor readings to the AP, as well as a protocol to receive control commands back. But aside from that, one can make the HIL simulator as simple or as complex as one needs. Currently we have a six-degree-of-freedom model of our UAV, and an engine model. Some work is underway to include an atmospheric and weather model.We are currently working very hard to write some sort of documentation and getting all the code ready for public release under the MIT Open Source license and under GIT version control system. We expect this to be ready around April this year.
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