Randy's Blog (28)

Copter-3.4's polygon fence

One of the more important features that will arrive with Copter-3.4 (still in beta testing) is the Polygon Fence (the full list of features can be seen in the …


Added by Randy on August 16, 2016 at 6:12am — 3 Comments

AntennaTracker v1.0 on NAVIO2 with Bebop2

ArduPilot's Antenna Tracker firmware has been making some quiet progress over the past few months.  They're all documented in the …


Added by Randy on July 28, 2016 at 2:07am — 30 Comments

Copter-3.4 beta testing starts

Copter-3.4-rc1 has been released for beta testing and can be downloaded using the Mission Planner's Install Firmware screen's beta firmware link.  Some of the changes since Copter-3.3.3 are listed below.

1) EKF2 allows "boat mode" (attitude initialisation without gyro calibration)

2) …


Added by Randy on May 30, 2016 at 10:30pm — 25 Comments

Terrain Following Missions using Lidar

The upcoming Copter-3.4 release will include terrain following support for mission commands using either Google earth altitude data or a Laser Range Finder.  This is a demonstration video shot at a ski hill near my home in Karuizawa Japan of this new feature.

For this test I used a venerable 3DR IRIS with a …


Added by Randy on May 13, 2016 at 11:30pm — 28 Comments

Copter-3.3 released!

After months of testing by the beta-testing team and no significant issue during the soft release, Copter-3.3 has been released.  You can load this version onto your vehicle using the…


Added by Randy on October 8, 2015 at 9:58pm — 82 Comments

Copter-3.3 ready for wider use

After months of testing by the beta-testing team, Copter-3.3 is ready for wider use.  Similar to the Copter-3.2 release this is a "soft launch" meaning that for the next couple of weeks, we are asking users to load the new version using the Mission Planner's "Beta firmwares" link…


Added by Randy on September 28, 2015 at 7:18pm — 82 Comments

NAVIO+ Linux board with APM:Copter 3.3

Click here to skip the commentary and just see the vehicle flying.

The video above shows my first attempt (which was successful) to fly APM:Copter using a Linux board (…


Added by Randy on June 3, 2015 at 12:00am — 23 Comments

Multi-Vehicle testing with APM:Copter, Tracker and Mission Planner

For some tasks (like Search and Rescue and mapping) what you can do with one vehicle, you can probably do faster with multiple vehicles.  To test how well it works in practice I tested…


Added by Randy on May 3, 2015 at 8:21pm — 41 Comments

ArduCopter 3.2.1 released

Warning: there was a period of about 12 hours after this blog was first posted where an older version (AC3.1.2) replaced AC3.2.1 for APM2.  If you think you may have downloaded for the APM2 during these initial period, please check the version on your board by looking at the title bar of the Mission Planner (see…


Added by Randy on February 11, 2015 at 1:00am — 97 Comments

Steps towards S&R in Japan

We seem to have a lot of natural disasters here in Japan (eruptions, mud slides, earthquakes) and like everywhere else we are counting on UAVs to…


Added by Randy on December 22, 2014 at 6:30pm — 9 Comments

ArduCopter 3.2 Released

ArduCopter 3.2 (aka APM:Copter) has been released as the default version replacing AC3.1.5. This is the exact same version that we invited all users to test two weeks ago.  Users who wish continue using AC3.1.5 can find it under the "Pick…


Added by Randy on November 24, 2014 at 8:56pm — 246 Comments

ArduCopter 3.2 ready for wider use

After months of testing, ArduCopter 3.2 (aka APM:Copter) is ready for widespread use and we invite all users to give it a try.  In order to manage the support load at first it will be available only through the Mission Planner and APM Planner2's Beta Firmwares link.  This link is visible from the regular "Install Firmware" page if you check…


Added by Randy on November 7, 2014 at 2:18am — 228 Comments

Red Balloon Finder

As many probably know, this year's Sparkfun Autonomous Vehicle Competition (AVC) is similar to last year's except that a new challenge has…


Added by Randy on June 17, 2014 at 5:04am — 46 Comments

GPS Glitch detection in AC3.1

AC3.1 is going out very soon and includes a new safety feature called GPS glitch detection.  There's a wiki page about it but I'd like to highlight how it works because it's near the top of the list of safety issues.  The method itself comes from …


Added by Randy on December 14, 2013 at 6:42am — 30 Comments

Dropping a Rover from Hexacopter - Part III

As a follow-up to the rover drops #1 and #2 I spent a day with Assistant Professor Nagatani-san of…


Added by Randy on August 22, 2013 at 7:40pm — 32 Comments

UAVs for measuring radiation levels in Japan

Two years after the March 11th tsunami in Japan that triggered the Nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power plant, there are still just over 300 thousand people who have not been able to return to their homes due to high radiation levels.  The government has decided that radiation…


Added by Randy on April 11, 2013 at 6:38pm — 11 Comments

Dropping a Rover from Hexacopter - Part II

As a follow up to an indoor test we did a about a month ago (blog post here), Assistant Professor Nagatani-san of Tohoku University, Izu-san of…


Added by Randy on March 15, 2013 at 12:32am — 14 Comments

Dropping a Rover from a HexaCopter

For those interested in using their multicopters to carry heavy objects you might be interested in the test that I performed today with Assistant Professor Nagatani-san of Tohoku university in Japan and Izu-san of…


Added by Randy on February 11, 2013 at 8:48am — 13 Comments

Hokuyo Laser Range Finder needs a home

I received a 2D laser range finder from the good people at Hokuyo more than 1 year ago.  My plan was to try to use it to improve ArduCopter's altitude hold or collision avoidance but other priorities have taken up my…


Added by Randy on December 25, 2012 at 9:32pm — 21 Comments

Steps toward ESC feedback using SimonK

Most of the pro multicopter set-ups have feedback from the ESCs so the controller knows the status of the motors.  This is useful for all kinds of reason including:

    1. debugging the causes of crashes - the controller could log when a motor has stopped running.

    2. allows faster and better reaction to a motor failure perhaps saving you from a crash at least for…


Added by Randy on September 26, 2012 at 9:43pm — 23 Comments


Season Two of the Trust Time Trial (T3) Contest 
A list of all T3 contests is here. The current round, the Vertical Horizontal one, is here

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