VTOL FireFLY6 now available with APM-based autonomy built-in

New announcement from BirdsEyeView:

BirdsEyeView Aerobotics is proud to introduce AvA: Advanced VTOL Autonomy for the FireFLY6.  AvA is the culmination of a year of behind-the-scenes development and testing, producing a powerful, elegant single controller autopilot solution for the FireFLY6. 

AvA is flight control firmware, designed for the PX4hawk autopilot, that gracefully handles the FireFLY6 in all regimes – takeoff to landing.  Flight mode transitions from hover to forward flight (and back) are fully AvA-controlled, making transitions a simple matter of flicking a switch.  No special radio programming or piloting techniques required.

AvA also enables fully-scripted autonomous operations, where all flight behavior (including transitions) can be preplanned using map-based point-and-click commands in our custom interface, FireFLY6 Planner.

FireFLY6 Planner runs on your Windows laptop or tablet, providing a real time link to the aircraft via the telemetry radio set included with your PX4hawk.  This allows for continuous monitoring of the FireFLY6’s health and location as well as point-and-click retasking. 

In particular, we focused on making mapping missions with the FireFLY6 easy, with intuitive access to the necessary flight planning and image georeferencing tools in FireFLY6 Planner.  This makes the FireFLY6 a killer mapping platform when combined with our upcoming mapping camera mounts, which are compatible with the FireFLY6 Gimbal Mount Kit – giving your FireFLY6 mapping bird the flexibility to also excel in gimbal-based aerial observation tasks (aerial videography, search & rescue, powerline/pipeline monitoring, etc).

AvA is available now in three different flavors, defined by your choice of key.  AvA keys unlock different levels of functionality, each level aimed at a specific user group: Sport, Pro, and Mapping.  More information on AvA keys and the functionality that they unlock can be found here.

AvA and the FireFLY6 Planner are built on a foundation provided by the APM Project.  AvA is a heavily modified version of APM:Copter, stripped down to the simple essentials and tailored to the FireFLY6, incorporating a special brew of custom forward flight algorithms and select functionality borrowed fromAPM:Plane.  Similarly, FireFLY6 Planner is a heavily modified version of the APM Project’s Mission Planner, lovingly recrafted in BirdsEyeView Aerobotics style with the FireFLY6 as a centerpiece. 

As a result of AvA’s APM heritage and PX4 backbone, we’re also happy to announce our membership in theDronecode Project.  We look forward to being active members of the open source aerobotics community.

Say hello to the FireFLY6 with AvA Onboard.  Welcome to the Revolution.

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Comment by Dwgsparky on November 17, 2015 at 3:02pm

Hi Jimmy 

I dont want to hijack this post but i do like your work. I sent you a 'Friend message" . Can I use these designs ? 

Comment by Marc Dornan on November 17, 2015 at 6:03pm
They need to rethink this most likely. It sounds wrong. Just charge more for the hardware. Bundle the port of Mission Planner with it. If their legal advice is bad and they start generating significant sales they are exposing themselves to a legal liability.
Comment by Team Tiltrotor on November 17, 2015 at 6:58pm

Hello Everyone, Thought we would chime in to clear any confusion given the inquiries we’ve received via email. Up until today we thought we were the only group developing VTOL on APM:Copter/APM:Plane software using the FireFLY 6 as a test vehicle. We’d simply like to go on record as saying Birds Eye View is not using our FireFLY6 code… in fact, they have never been given any of our code, nor have they asked for it.

Comment by Fnoop on November 18, 2015 at 12:16am

Hey Team Tiltrotor, is your code working?  Is it open (yet)?  Is it a viable replacement for the birdseyeview?

Comment by Craig Elder on November 18, 2015 at 1:36am

@Fnoop The Team Tiltrotor code is open and can be found here https://github.com/Tiltrotor

Comment by Fnoop on November 18, 2015 at 1:29pm

@Craig that github looks a little bit abandoned, I was just wondering if it's going to be a viable alternative going forward?

As a hobbyist/researcher I would personally only buy one if there is an active opensource alternative - as would many here I suspect.

As long as they do right by the licensing I think it's great if birdseyeview can make money by charging for a commercially supported stable firmware tailored for their vehicle, somewhat similar to how 3dr does with the Solo I assume (I know little about the Solo, sorry if that's wrong).  I'm sure people using a firefly for commercial operations will happily pay the extra if it's well supported and reliable.  But as they're already distributing the binaries they should already be publishing the source, I would have thought.

Comment by Marco Robustini on November 19, 2015 at 5:15am

Where is the "AvA" source code? It must be published, not only the compiled firmware...

Comment by Volta Robots on November 19, 2015 at 5:19am

@Marco It's what I was wandering since the very first comment on this post! :)

Comment by James on November 19, 2015 at 7:35am

Hi guys, 

As i can see, binaries are also locked with a special parameter...   

In the manual it notes that there are two parameters called PID_KEY and PID_VALUE, the first is already populated and you recieve the second via email after payment in order to unlock the corresponding capabilities...

So, neither binaries or source offered for free.Is that right? 

We have backed and own this very well constructed hybrid and also admired the excelend documentation and support. Hopefully its a small mishap and soon we will be able to fly this rig with one a-pilot.

Comment by Preston on December 1, 2015 at 2:57pm

has anyone tried the Team Tiltrotor version of the FireFly 6.  I have had mine for a year but just now putting it together. I would like to fly it with just the pixhawk, but there seem to be some confusion on which way to go.  I don't want to spend another $500.00 if I don't have to.  Any help would be great..



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