May 2008 Blog Posts (34)

PID Controller In Layman's Terms

Don't let that image intimidate you. It's not that bad! I was surfing on the Parallax Propeller forums and I noticed a post on PID controllers for UAVs that might be useful to some of you:

PID Stuff for you UAV Nuts out there!

PID controllers are commonly used in… Continue

Added by James Ross on May 28, 2008 at 9:57pm — 10 Comments

3D Robotics
How to add vectoring thrusters to a blimp

As those who have been following along with our "minimum blimp" project to create the cheapest possible autonomous aerial robot (by adding an open source autopilot to a toy RC blimp), maintaining altitude in the face of air currents and temperature gradients has been a continuing challenge. The main problem…


Added by Chris Anderson on May 26, 2008 at 10:00pm — 11 Comments

3D Robotics
Has anyone here successfully built and flown a Paparazzi autopilot?

Judging from this thread, Paparazzi is a complete nightmare to implement, despite the new availability of pre-built boards. The insistence that it has to run under Linux doesn't help.

I have huge respect for the technical accomplishments of the Paparazzi team, but it sounds like some all-important hand-holding for regular folks has been lost along the… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 25, 2008 at 1:30pm — 8 Comments

3D Robotics
Good news on the regulatory front--and a lot of questions

Dave Perry from UNAV writes in with some news:

"UNAV has been working with the US Commerce Dept. for the past six months to re-classify our PICOPILOT-RTL (Return To Launch) product.

We claimed that since the -RTL could not be programmed with user… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 25, 2008 at 9:30am — 9 Comments

Website Recommendations for uav parts

i know of many sites to purchase parts for robots and airplanes, but is there a website completely deticated to selling parts for UAVs?

Added by Tom Sozzi on May 23, 2008 at 11:41am — 1 Comment

5DOF imu + BX-24 + kalman filter

ok got it wired up , getting good data , now to make the numbers mean something .any advice on reading the gyro data would be welcome.

Added by crystal garris on May 22, 2008 at 8:02pm — 8 Comments


With the recent problems here the UAVS role will save lives and help monitor such outbursts. No need for people to be so close to record events.

Added by ian powell on May 22, 2008 at 12:28am — 2 Comments

Rotorcraft endurance records 4 U

Another first from the "don't apply if your resume doesn't say MIT on it" department. The Eurocopter may have been the first to summit Everest, Alan Szebo Sr/Jr may rule the 3D kingdom, but the Hummingbird's got the endurance record now.

Now if only the Hummingbird could repeat these stunts without crashing.…


Added by Jack Crossfire on May 21, 2008 at 9:00pm — 6 Comments

3D Robotics
Interested in a UAV fly-in in San Diego before AUVSI next month?

The AUVSI organizers have offered to get us a flying field in San Diego for an amateur UAV fly-in on Sunday, June 8th, the day before their big annual UAV conference and expo starts. Before I take them up on this, I want to gauge interest: are you in the San Diego area or going there for AUVSI and might want to fly on that Sunday?

(BTW, I'm giving a keynote at AUVSI, talking about the… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 21, 2008 at 6:30am — 6 Comments


This looks interesting! As seen in the Polular Mechanics South African version
Looks promising in regard to my thoughts on the "Drug issue"
Does anybody have any info on specs and such like.

Added by ian powell on May 21, 2008 at 4:22am — 3 Comments

3D Robotics
A DIY Drones Milestone: 1,000 members!

Today we hit another nice milestone in the growth of DIY Drones: 1,000 people have signed up to participate. In the ten months this site has been running, it has grown to an average of 1,000 unique visitors and 5,000 page views a day. Over that period, we've had a total of about 200,000 unique visitors and nearly three quarters of million page views. We add new… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 20, 2008 at 12:30pm — No Comments

3D Robotics
Another mapping mission over the Googleplex

After our presentations last week at Where 2.0, our Pict'Earth friends stuck around for the weekend to do another mapping mission over the Googleplex (this now seems to be a rite of passage in our community--my original mission is… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 18, 2008 at 12:30pm — No Comments

3D Robotics
New GAO report on regulating UAVs in the National Airspace

The Government Accounting Office has released a new report on the issue of introducing UAVs into the national airspace for routine operations. Nothing very new or illuminating, but I'm glad that they noted that the lack of a clear regulatory path is hindering commercial development. Words that do not appear anywhere in the report: "amateur", "non-commercial", "recreational" and "open source".

Although the report makes many… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 17, 2008 at 5:02pm — 2 Comments

3D Robotics
HOW-TO: Make your own PCB

Confused by all this talk about Eagle PCB files, schematics, "fabs" and all that? Until about three months ago, so was I. But with a lot of late nights and hand-holding from Jordi, I finally figured it out and now find the fast-growing DIY hardware world mind-blowingly cool. Now you can zip up the learning curve a lot faster than I did by checking out this excellent new… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 14, 2008 at 2:50pm — 1 Comment

3D Robotics
Clever helmet for monitoring your wireless video feed

From our friends at Pict'Earth, a neat hack to keep your directional antenna pointed the right way and monitor your wireless video while your plane is in the air.

I was going to say it was "cool" but I realized that my wife would probably disagree (indeed, she'd have… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 14, 2008 at 2:30pm — 2 Comments

3D Robotics
A GPS simulation for the Outback Challenge UAV contest

Dave from UNAV sent over the above GPS simulation results from a search and rescue pattern test for the upcoming Australian Outback Challenge contest. The course is 5x2 miles and Dave used the new… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 13, 2008 at 11:00pm — 2 Comments

UAV #1

This was my first UAV.

It was the simplest, cheapest UAV possible: a magnet. It couldn't fly very high, it couldn't follow waypoints, it couldn't carry much of a payload, it was even more unstable than a helicopter, but it could fly as long as PG&E didn't have a rolling blackout.

The guidance system was as simple as can be. Just pulse the throttle when too low or high. Scale the duty cycle based on the time… Continue

Added by Jack Crossfire on May 13, 2008 at 10:00am — 1 Comment

The Current Project

So my current project is to scratch build a small QuadCopter. The physical structure is allready built in a preliminary form, and it will do just fine for preliminary testing. Currently, its made of square wood dowel and Speed 400 size motors with an old NiMH pack. Its too heavy to hover with the battery, but I can still get it all working with low altitude testing. When I've got the software stable, then Ill invest in some proper hardware and do it right.

The software is the real… Continue

Added by Borgel on May 12, 2008 at 2:33pm — 7 Comments

3D Robotics
Introducing ArduPilot: the world's cheapest autopilot!

The decision to port the Basic Stamp autopilot to Arduino turned out to be an unexpected opportunity to make something really cool. I've taken Jordi's open source… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 11, 2008 at 9:00am — 91 Comments

Goo Tube blowup

Blowup of the stationary hover video for the ultimate flying feeling.

Added by Jack Crossfire on May 9, 2008 at 3:16pm — No Comments

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