it has been quiet for a while from GIZMOtec and the AP-Manager.
But meanwhile the project is finished and we are happy to present the AP-Manager with even more features and flexibility as a redundancy-board between two parallel running (different) autopilots.
Since, the requirements for the operation of unmanned aircrafts in commercial and semi-professional purposes have become more strict in some regions here in Europe, safety is important.
The AP-Manager allows you to operate your aircraft or vehicle safely by using two independent autopilot systems parallel. The AP-Manager is acting here as an intelligent bridge between the autopilots in your UAV system and switches to the alive autopilot, whenever one of the autopilots quits its operation.
Furthermore, with an onboard-mixer you can even operate your system manual, just in case both autopilots should fail (except for multirotors).
The AP-Manager has implemented electronic switches, which routes the servo outputs from the autopilots to a single servo output rail depending on the desired operation mode of the AP-Manager. The AP-Manager can be operated in “Manual-“ (semiautomatic) or “Automatic”-mode.
In both cases, the AP-Manager is monitoring the health status of the connected autopilots by checking the alive-signal of each autopilot and the servo outputs of the active autopilot.
This improves redundancy and therefore safety in case of malfunction in one of the autopilot systems. The AP-Manager switches to the second autopilot system and the operator is able to perform a safe landing.
On the board there is also integrated a PPM-decoder for manual (non-stabilized) flight.
With this decoder, you can directly feed the remote signals though the AP-Manager to the servos and motors (only possible for planes, delta-wings, helicopters and ground vehicles). This function is activated in case both autopilot systems are not working (Emergency state) to perform an emergency landing.
The AP-Manager is able to control up to 8-output channels. With a second board you can extend the system to use even more channels (NOTE: not implemented yet).
Additional benefits arise when using the AP-Manager in combination with autopilots from the ardupilot-family (by 3D-Robotics) in terms of switching the telemetry-downlink. It allows you to use only one telemetry module to monitor two autopilot systems separately. If the AP-Manager switches (manually or automatically because of a malfunction) between the autopilot systems, it also switches the telemetry automatically, allowing you to monitor the autopilot which is currently in command.
If you performing test-flights (e.g. with a new firmware on the second autopilot) you can easily watch the behaviour of the second autopilot via the telemetry switch, whilst flying on the familiar primary autopilot (with the old firmware).
One single PPM / PWM channel on your radio receiver can operate the different mode-selection solutions for the autopilots and the selection of telemetry’s.
You can use the most features when using a PIXHAWK or APM, but you can also use other autopilot systems. You even can mix the autopilots or stabilization systems, if it makes sense for you or for test purposes.
Dependent on your range of application for your UAV’s, the setups can be very different and various (type of autopilot, telemetry, esc’s, power-redundancy, remote control, vehicle, number of engines…etc.). Therefore, we prepared a configuration tool for doing the setups.
Some Features of the AP-Manager:
- Telemetry switch (for 3DR-family)
- Manual and/or semi-automatic switch between autopilots
- On-board mixer for traditional aircraft, delta-wing and helicopter on board (in case both autopilot fail)
- Wide internal power supply range 3,7-17V
- Configurable via software
- Future firmware updates possible
- Mixable with different autopilots
- Signal feedback outputs for LED’s or buzzer
- Digital output for feedback of actual state back to JETI receiver
- PWM-signals of active autopilot and parallel monitoring of alive-signal
- … etc.