January 2008 Blog Posts (35)

3D Robotics
Curt Olson interview part 3: GPS simulation with FlightGear

Okay, now that we've connected our PC to our autopilot's GPS input, let's let Curt walk us through all the things we can do with FlightGear. Starting with this:

Q : Is there a way to use FlightGear to plot a…


Added by Chris Anderson on January 28, 2008 at 8:00pm — 2 Comments

uav projects with blackfin processor and wifi radio

X3D SRV1Console

After some distractions and delays, my uav projects, first described here - are back on track. Yesterday, I received the needed firmware update for the AscTec (X3D) quad - it's now possible control the quad via the serial interface with no FM transmitter in the loop. As before, the controller is an SRV-1 Blackfin Camera Board,… Continue

Added by Howard Gordon on January 28, 2008 at 3:58pm — 5 Comments

3D Robotics
Matt Chave interview, part 2: all about magnetometers

Matt Chave's CUAV project is a great example of custom autopilot building, but one of the most interesting parts about it is that it uses magnetometers--digital compasses--in addition to the regular accelerometers and gyros. In the second part of our… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 27, 2008 at 8:30pm — 2 Comments

3D Robotics
Interview: Matt Chave and the CUAV project

For the second interview in our series, we'll go to Australia, where aerospace engineer Matt Chave has been developing a very interesting open source UAV that uses magnetometers in an interesting way (and he's using FlightGear for simulation!).…


Added by Chris Anderson on January 27, 2008 at 8:23pm — No Comments

3D Robotics
GPS simulation hardware setup, part 2

In an earlier post, I discussed some of the options for connecting your autopilot to your PC for GPS simulation. I've now tried several of the options on our Basic Stamp autopilot, and I have some recommendations on what to do (and not to do).

Rather than try to re-use… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 27, 2008 at 7:00pm — No Comments

3D Robotics
Curt Olson interview part 4: more advanced UAV simulation

[In the previous installments of my interview with Curt Olson, I focused on using FlightGear for GPS simulation--you fly the plane around in the flight simulator and the software outputs GPS data to fool your autopilot into thinking that it's the plane in the flight simulator, so you can see how the autopilot responds to being off course. Now we're going to… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 27, 2008 at 6:54pm — No Comments

3D Robotics
Blimp UAV: handling navigation indoors

The blimp UAV project is moving along nicely. We've picked a general size and selected most of the components. We've now decided to go with a PIC processor, rather than the Stamp, Propeller, or… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 19, 2008 at 8:30pm — 8 Comments

3D Robotics
Curt Olson interview part 2: we pause for a hardware moment

(part one of the interview is here. A followup to the post below, with some more specific advice, is here.)

Before we drill down with Curt on the specifics on one way to use… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 18, 2008 at 3:00pm — No Comments

3D Robotics
Interview: Curt Olson on FlightGear and UAV simulation

I'm delighted to start our interview series with Curt Olson, the creator of the cool open source FlightGear flight simulator and a UAV engineer in real life. When I started researching how to… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 18, 2008 at 8:30am — 6 Comments

3D Robotics
Our motto

"Because $10,000 $5,000 $1,000 $500 is too much to pay for an autopilot, especially one that doesn't do exactly what you want."

Added by Chris Anderson on January 17, 2008 at 10:30am — 4 Comments

3D Robotics
Best way to simulate a UAV flight?

While it's cold and windy outside, the best way to test our UAVs may be simulations. As best as I can tell there are at least two ways to do this, but I can't say I really understand either of them well enough to implement:

  1. Generate synthetic GPS data with your PC's serial port, see what the autopilot does as a result.…

Added by Chris Anderson on January 15, 2008 at 7:00pm — 6 Comments

3D Robotics
Making a UAV fail-safe

A big part of the DIY Drones credo is keeping it safe, and by that I don't just mean adhering to FAA regs and staying away from built-up areas, but also keeping it safe for your expensive UAV! The truth, as we all know, is that computers crash and that aircraft flown by computers… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 14, 2008 at 11:03pm — 25 Comments

First Arduino IMU test

I'm trying to develop an IMU for my Arduino-based UAVS (heli) project. In my first test I just used a three-axis accelerometer, but it didn't work because the motor vibration generated too much noise. I then tried it just with gyros, but of course the the…


Added by Jordi Muñoz on January 14, 2008 at 9:44pm — 36 Comments

3D Robotics
The Paparazzi UAV team's amazing conference demo

A mindblowing report from Hackaday:

"The 24th annual Chaos Communications Congress in Berlin is already off to a great start. The first talk we attended was [Antoine Drouin] and [Martin Müller] presenting… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 14, 2008 at 3:30pm — 5 Comments

3D Robotics
Is the Arduino platform better than the Basic Stamp for UAVs?

Jordi has opened my eyes to the Arduino platform, which is being described as a "Basic Stamp killer". Is it a good candidate for autopilots? Well, let's look closer.

Arduino is an open… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 12, 2008 at 9:30pm — 23 Comments

3D Robotics
Basic Stamp autopilot tutorial, part 5

In my last tutorial, I showed you how to upgrade from the 12-sat Parallax GPS module to the much better (and cheaper) 20-sat EM406. Unfortunately, my instructions weren't compete and I've spent a… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 12, 2008 at 7:12pm — 9 Comments

3D Robotics
Announcement: pages for other UAV projects and autopilot code (by processor type)

By popular demand, I've added two pages on this site, linked to from the text box on the front page

Given the constratints of the social… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 11, 2008 at 11:00pm — No Comments

The Christmas Gift

The sale plane that i was building is about 3/4 of the way done, and i had to stop (unexpected guests and no where left in the house to build it), but for Christmas i was givin a small 95% ready to fly park flyer. now its the 29.99 special from Harbor freight called the yellow bee. but its actually a fun little airplane to play with until i get my other one done and get a radio for it. i have already crashed my "yellow bee" on the first test flight i lost control and it landed in a neighbors… Continue

Added by uavdiyutah on January 10, 2008 at 11:09pm — 2 Comments

Building a UAV for photo mapping - Trial Balance

I have now finished all the sub-assemblies of my Cularis, so before sticking the fuselage together, I decided to do a trial balance to check on the COG. Here it is, poised on the wing

dimples. The airframe, with installed servos, but not motor, battery

etc. weighs 1.1kg including the two steel balls located in…


Added by Paul Gregory on January 8, 2008 at 11:38am — No Comments

3D Robotics
Which Multiplex powered glider makes the best UAV platform?

Like everyone else, we're huge fans of the Multiplex EasyStar, a cheap, sturdy and good-flying powered glider. It's a great aerial imaging platform (see our how-to… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on January 6, 2008 at 12:00pm — 11 Comments

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