November 2008 Blog Posts (29)

$135 BeagleBoard and MAV project - Small and Open like Arduino with Linux and WinCE potential

Interesting new Single Board Computer - BeagleBoard. Size is close to Arduino, but with full PC platform support, USB, Video etc... And there is already an official MAV project:

Added by bGatti on November 30, 2008 at 8:49pm — 1 Comment

3D Robotics
Awesome simulation setup for ArduPilot!

Jordi's really outdone himself this time! He created a amazing full-featured simulator for ArduPilot that does the following:

  • Uses the servo output from the autopilot or RC controller (depending on which one is selected by the MUX) to "fly" a plane in the X-Plane flight simulator, via a custom interface he's designed around…

Added by Chris Anderson on November 30, 2008 at 1:00pm — 27 Comments

3D Robotics
ArduPilot home page

[This home page has moved. It's now here]

Added by Chris Anderson on November 30, 2008 at 1:00pm — 761 Comments

3D Robotics
Autonomous blimp art shows

Jed Berk's original Blubberbot was the inspiration for BlimpDuino. It isn't programmable and the sensors don't work predictably, so it just sort of bumbles around, bouncing off walls and floors. But it's lovely to have around and taught us a lot about… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on November 28, 2008 at 11:05am — No Comments

3D Robotics
ArduPilot and BlimpDuino on the ultimate list of open-source hardware

Philip Torrone at Make Magazine has put together an excellent list of the top open source hardware projects for 2008, and our two autopilots are in it! Check it out here.

Added by Chris Anderson on November 28, 2008 at 11:00am — No Comments

3D Robotics
Using the 5Hz Locosys GPS with Arduino/ArduPilot

Sparkfun is now selling the excellent 5Hz Locosys (Mediatek chipset) GPS that Dean Goedde uses in ArduPilot. We're developing a daughterboard that will allow this 3.3v module to be a plug-and-play replacement for the 5v, 1Hz EM406 GPS that we're… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on November 27, 2008 at 3:00pm — 74 Comments

3D Robotics
ArduPilot Assembly Instructions

Welcome to ArduPilot! Here's how to compete your new board:

You should have received the basic ArduPilot board with all surface-mount components already soldered and the essential firmware already loaded on the chips. All you've got to do now is to solder on some connectors and load the autopilot software. For this first part of that you'll need a strip of breakaway headers, and three… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on November 26, 2008 at 10:30pm — 143 Comments

3D Robotics
Setting up ArduPilot for autonomous flight

ArduPilot has two modes: programmed waypoints and return-to-launch (RTL). In the first one, you enter in GPS Latitude and Longitude coordinates of your waypoints into the code with the Arduino IDE. In the second, you don't enter in any waypoints and the aircraft just returns to the Lat/Lon it was at when you first powered on the board (at your launch location).

I fyou're using ArudPilot 2.1 or above, you can set it up with a desktop utility, as described… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on November 26, 2008 at 6:00pm — 23 Comments

3D Robotics
BlimpDuino debugging tips

Just a quick note for those building BlimpDuino boards from scratch and running into issues:

First, the instruction on how to load the bootloader, etc, are… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on November 24, 2008 at 4:39pm — No Comments

My first EasyStar RC flights- with GPS too!

Like many others, I have been mildly obsessed with the thought of building my own autonomous aircraft for some time now, and DIY Drones has been a wonderful inspiration. It helped convince me to purchase an EasyStar a year ago, but due to other activities in my life, it sat collecting dust in its box until 2 weeks ago when I finally began to assemble it. Well, I finished it last Thursday and had a coworker help with its maiden flight to ensure… Continue

Added by Pat on November 23, 2008 at 11:32pm — 4 Comments

3D Robotics
Coast Guard Academy course built around BlimpDuino!

This year the Coast Guard Academy's mechanical engineering department build a course around BlimpDuino, both to teach the students about aerial robotics and to help us beta test the blimp. The course was designed to help develop an aerial robotics contest and the students… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on November 23, 2008 at 6:03pm — 2 Comments

extreme navigation 4 U

That's some extreme autonomous navigation. Forget about asking The Goog how it works or why anyone would bother launching a rocket sideways. We can only guess the 90 deg turn is to save space. There are probably some 1000000 deg/sec gyros in there. Maybe it's Attopilot… Continue

Added by Jack Crossfire on November 21, 2008 at 11:30am — 5 Comments

6-legged walking roboter

slightly offtopic, but the servo-interface might be of interest to some people. here's my 6 legged walking roboter. there are 3 servos for every leg.…


Added by quix-fz on November 21, 2008 at 9:30am — No Comments

3D Robotics
An algorithm for flying in a circle

The always interesting Tom Pycke has a new post that shows you how to program your autopilot to fly in a circle. Very clear and simple math, which should be easy to implement on any… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on November 18, 2008 at 8:30pm — 3 Comments

New Refrigerated Liquid Hydrogen Powered Search & Rescue UAV

I live in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. I'm a former Air Force C141 jet cargo plane mechanic. My trade is Auto Mechanics with a very special focus on Electric and Alternative Fuel Vehicles.

Could I interest anyone in your DIY Drones group in a new liquid hydrogen, electric motor & fuel cell powered " flying - wing blimp ", sailplane, cargo plane, helicopter or 4 rotor hovercraft?

The " KAIST " college research program over in Korea has… Continue

Added by Gary Thomas on November 18, 2008 at 5:49pm — 10 Comments

3D Robotics
DIY Drones updates

A few updates on where we stand on various projects:

--ArduPilot: Our second production candidate is now being fabbed. Fingers crossed this one works (it should!). The software is close to ready and I can see us opening up for orders within a month. Ground station software is in alpha.

--BlimpDuino: The final production candidate is in the hands of beta testers. The software is done. Now just preparing to turn our hand-assembled one-off kits into something we can mass… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on November 17, 2008 at 10:51pm — 2 Comments

3D Robotics
Laser navigation allows heli UAV to navigate ground terrain

Carnegie Mellon research have fitted the standard Yamaha 3.5m heli platform (originally designed to fertilize rice paddies) with a custom 3D laser scanner. The result, says New Scientist, is a UAV that can hug the ground, avoiding obstacles as small as a telephone line:

"The helicopter uses two navigation strategies. First, a… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on November 12, 2008 at 7:00pm — No Comments

3D Robotics
New Lego Mindstorms NXT servo driver module

HiTechnic is releasing their servo driver module for Lego Mindstorms NXT as a stand alone product. It is the same one that's in the high-priced FTC competition kit, and is similar to the prototype that I used in the… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on November 12, 2008 at 2:00pm — No Comments

3D Robotics
New ArduPilot Pro boards

While we revise the production boards for ArduPilot and Blimpduino is being tweaked by the beta testers, work continues on ArduPilot Pro, the dual-core autopilot with built-in IR stabilization. ArduPilot Pro is also our development platform for future versions of the code and because it uses DIP version of the Atmega168 CPU it… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on November 10, 2008 at 10:00pm — 10 Comments

3D Robotics
iPhone datalogging with a rocket

From MobileOrchard: "Michael Koppelman - an iPhone developer and model rocket enthusiast - decided to combine his hobbies by launching an iPhone into the skies with his very own “iPhone rocket.”

Michael shares lots of interesting technical (and some less than technical) information during the interview, including:

* how he polled the GPS and accelerometer

* the lag between the GPS… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on November 10, 2008 at 9:08pm — No Comments

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