WowWee's BladeStar indoor flying machine is advertised as the first toy with an autopilot. From its description: "The exclusive Autopilot Mode with sensor-based navigation enables it to glide… Continue
After testing the new 4-channel EasyGlider Pro and finding it a great flier but without as much internal space as our beloved 3-channel EasyStar, people suggested I just modify some EasyGlider wings (which have ailerons) and use them on the EasyStar.
So I did that. It was a pretty easy mod--you just have to carve off a little foam from the Easy Glider wings and thread a aileron… Continue
These are projects from 2007 and early 2008 that were a lot of fun to do and are still worth checking out for UAV ideas. There is also a PDF/poster that shows how they compare to military and commercial drones.
We fixed some bugs in the ArduPilot's failsafe code, which runs on the board's second processor, an Attiny45. It now works great, and has a secret "reboot the autopilot" feature. Just toggle the autopilot enable switch on your transmitter five times fast, and it will reset the Atmega168. Great for times when you don't want to land just because a random bug froze the autopilot. Otherwise it just does what it's supposed to do: transfer control from RC to autopilot and back again on command--every… Continue
Jordi came over today and finished up the work on ArduPilot and the second simulator. He caught a lot of bugs that had been bedeviling us, especially unintended crosstalk between the main autopilot processor (the atmega168) and the failsafe processor (the attiny45) that… Continue
Big day of ArduPilot and BlimpDuino work at DIY Drones HQ (my house in Berkeley). Jordi and his wife are up from LA and we've been debugging code and tweaking PID loops all day. We also set up a second… Continue
Just got the first batch of ArduPilot production boards. They're tiny--smaller than a key! Jordi is in San Francisco this weekend and we're going to spend the weekend testing them, including in the air. Hope to have videos next… Continue
From a long and very good article in Vanity Fair about a Brazillian mid-air collision last year, when two aircraft coming from opposite directions were given the same altitude and heading. The autopilots were so accurate that the two planes hit each other dead on in the open skies over the vast Amazonian rain forest: Excerpt:
"Navigational precision poses dangers not immediately apparent. In the… Continue
We caught a small bug in the attiny code that runs the failsafe on ArduPilot and ArduPilot Pro. On ArduPilot, the failsafe will allow you to reboot the main microcontroller remotely, and this was stuck in the on position, making it impossible to load the autopilot code. Corrected Attiny code is here (if all you want is the hex file to load… Continue
First thing, needless to say: inflate the envelope. For that you'll need helium. You can get it in a party balloon kit that you can find at most Targets or Wal-Marts or any party supply store. You can also buy it from Amazon, or…
Tom Pycke tested GPS altitude measurement vs a barometric sensor with his UAV. It shows that today's GPS sensors give excellent altitude readings, accurate to a few meters even if they're only… Continue