Announcing T3-2, Round Two: the autotakeoff and landing round

It's time for the second round of the second season of the Trust Time Trial (T3) competion! This round is an autotakeoff and landing round, with 3D waypoints. Like the last round, there are two divisions: plane and copters. 

Your mission in this round is to complete the course diagrammed above. Your UAV must autonomously do the following:

  1. Autotakeoff. NO MANUAL CONTROL. This must be fully autonomous launch, with the RC transmitter on the ground. For aircraft we will accept rise-off-ground, catapult or hand-launch (but remember, no transmitter!). For copters, it must rise-off-ground. Just flick your RC transmitter's mode toggle switch and put that bad boy on the ground while you watch the show. 
  2. Hit the above eight waypoints, which are in increasing and then decreasing height (the target altitude is given after each waypoint number). They are all 100m apart, for both planes and copters. The exact position of WP8 (or however more waypoints you need to end the mission) is not important--it is just whatever you need to set up your landing pattern properly. 
  3. Autoland, as close to your launch position as possible. Again, no transmitters!

To enter, post the following in the comments below:

  • KML track and screenshot of your track in Google Earth, with launch and final rest positions marked.
  • A description of your vehicle and autopilot. 
  • Because this is a hands-free round, we want videos of the whole thing! Upload them to YouTube and embed the video in your entry.

Gary Mortimer, as always, will be the judge. In this case it will be scored primarily on "style": he will use qualitative rather than purely quantitative measures to reward clean patterns, tight altitude control and the closeness of the landings to the takeoff points. Note: experience has shown he can be influenced by creativity and fun, so make those videos count! 

There will be three winners in each category (planes and copters), with the #1s getting a $100 gift certificate at the DIY Drones store and #2 and #3 getting $25 each.

All entrants who successfully compete the course with a copter, regardless of place in the judging, will receive a flying robot merit badge!

This is a pretty tough challenge and the weather is still dicey in the Northern Hemisphere, so you get two months for this one. Deadline is Sunday, March 4th, at midnight PST. 

Views: 8059

Comment by Colin on March 3, 2012 at 10:11am

Hi all,

I’ve now flown my entry for this round. I did the course two times in a row to test the consistency and prove that the landings weren’t too hard ;-)

The flight times were almost identical at 61 and 62 seconds each. The landing spots from the logs were measured to be 7 metres apart in google earth. The KML for the flight can be found here

Here’s a YouTube video of the two flights

If you look carefully, you can see my arm go out away from the transmitter (which I had to hold to flick into auto mode) after launching. Also, I held the transmitter up during the landing to show that I wasn’t flying it.

The pitch up just before landing is where I scheduled a speed reduction. The weight of the on-board camera caused the canopy to pop off on landing, a bit of tape would have helped...

Here’s a top down view of the flight paths. The red line is the first flight and is the log I am submitting for the competition. The biggest deviation seems to be from my launch direction :)

The big jaggies in the red must be data errors because the flight itself was smooth. The green flight actually lost GPS fix twice, once straight after launch and once about 20 seconds in, for half a second.

Here’s a couple of 3D views

and the measurement between the two landing spots

I measured my climb rate response using the FBW-B mode. There’s a bit of a lag in the step response, which I thought could be an issue on such a tight course, but the results came out pretty well I thought :)

My airframe is a Multiplex Twinstar II. I’ve modified it with brushless outrunners, the details can be found on my blog. The autopilot is an A

Comment by Colin on March 3, 2012 at 10:13am

My post was too long, here's the rest of it:

My airframe is a Multiplex Twinstar II. I’ve modified it with brushless outrunners, the details can be found on my blog. The autopilot is an APM 1 with mediatek GPS (sadly I broke my ublox trying to get a tricopter into the competition). I also have a 5883L mag, but being the first outing with both it and the mediatek, I’m not sure how much difference it made.

I was running the APM 2.8 code, but removed the two lines that scale the navigation roll term with ground speed.

I’d like to thank all the dev team for sharing their hard work; Chris and Gary for these competitions, please keep them going, I’m learning a lot from taking part. Also, thanks to my club-mate Paul for helping film this round.

And finally, a gentle reminder of the peril at my flying field: here’s where my plane “landed” once back in the pre-beta days

Comment by Gary Mortimer on March 3, 2012 at 10:49am

Ohhhhh a Twinstar, plus 5 points I have a soft spot for them, also a tight looking launchsite. Well done.

Well done Colin

So the only real UAS drivers around here drive aircraft ;-)

Just noticed your from Bristol, I was born there and parents are still in South Somerset, so you might be building a lead. All those positive points might be deducted if Lulsgate noticed. I have a story about a manned flight exactly where you are flying, but thats for the pub not here!

Comment by Colin on March 3, 2012 at 11:00am

Thanks Gary :)

I tried driving a tricopter, but it wobbled too much, and then it broke my nice ublox. Maybe I'll forgive it and try to enter it next round...

Comment by Philip Giacalone on March 3, 2012 at 5:14pm

Congrats, Pete!!! That was a sweet flight over a beautiful area. A nice close up of some very pretty trees. And a great nice landing only ten meters from the launch spot -- nice! And thanks for the little plug in the video's credits. That was a surprise! Next stop..., hollywood!

@Gary I'll take any extra points you wanna hand out! Check lists, nose dragging, wheels... Whatever... :-)

@Ric I'm really looking forward to seeing your upside down entry :-)

Comment by Pete Hollands on March 4, 2012 at 2:05am

Hi Colin, lovely entry. Congratulations.

Comment by Colin on March 4, 2012 at 4:52am

Hi Pete, thanks :) 

Your flight was very good, nice and smooth. Do you have any landing options for flaring or the like? Or do you extend your finals to give you a nice shallow glide slope for landing? This seems to be the best way with the APM at the moment, but at the expense of needing more room.

Am I right in thinking that the logo flight plan starts from where you throw it?

Also, on your flight analysis, the magnetic vectors, are they showing local declination, or do they show some estimation process? I didn't realise it varies quite so much!

Looking forward to our next meetup



Comment by Philip Giacalone on March 4, 2012 at 5:53pm

Very nice entry, Colin. I like the telemetry plots, too.

Comment by Phil Cole on March 5, 2012 at 12:52am

Here's something I threw together at the last minute. It was such a nice day it seems almost criminal not to go flying.

KML File

Log file

The picture shows two flight modes used: FBW-A while I walked to the launch point, and Auto from then on. As can be seen, I didn't spend anytime tuning - there had been many too many EEPROM format changes since last time I tuned it, and there was a bit of a breeze. Believe it or not, it did sort of go near the waypoints.

This is where it was meant to go:

Airframe: Parkzone Radian

Autopilot: APM1, UBlox GPS, XBee 900 MHz telemetry, No magnetometer

SW:  DCM-wip version fcebf

I tried enabling the quaternion implementation, but it didn't work so well in auto mode. This may be due to my lack of a compass - replaying the log showed the plane flying in random orientations (backwards, sideways, etc.)

There is also a very boring video of me standing around watching it fly. Sorry I didn't keep the transmitter in view all the time, but I did't touch the sticks. I replayed the log while watching the radio input - the only change was the selection of Auto mode on Ch 8. The route after takeoff was "interesting", but it did sort it out.

Comment by Gary Mortimer on March 5, 2012 at 1:04am

Well done Phil, the contest is now closed.

Great job all the aircraft drivers out there Chris and I shall now consider. 

Fantastic looking flying spot BTW Phil.

In future guys don't worry about keeping the TX's in shot, have your fingers ready to take over if needs be.

Thats the Trust part of the competition! 


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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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