ACV 2011 Coverage: Dramatic Aerial Runs


Heres a summary of Aerial Round 1:


The aerial heats started off with a blast as Team Lawn Dart one crashed into turn one's (familiar) tree shortly after an amazing auto-takeoff.

Team DIY- Drones equiped with Ardupilot  Mega auto had a great run with an auto-take off but unfortunately did not finish the run (hawk sky pic below).

Team Arducopter was the first entry and had a smooth and dramatic run, making  the first three corners well. Almost surely, the copter was going to make it home, only to be caught by an aggressive tree (!!). Too bad, it was well on its way to the finish line (qaud pic below).


Defending champion Antonio flew his zagi around the course with speed and grace.He will be a tough beat this year with his custom autopilot.


Arducopter pilot and principal Arducopter Mega coder, Jason Short, had the most dramatic aerial flight thus far. He started very well, clearing spectators and three corners, at times just barely. On approach, the arducopter took off to a high altitude and due to the winds, drifted and then descendsed behind the gov't contractor Northrop Grumman building. After the crowd gasped, surely expecting the worst, the quadcopter reappeared , came back and to the happiness of all, landed safely.Way to go Jason! 

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  • Developer
    No, there is not yet code for yaw during TO in the trunk code.  Some AVC competitors' code has some "secret sauce" that may show up in the trunk soon ;)
  • Is there even code that is correcting Yaw on auto-takeoff within APM yet? Just wondering, because I have the same issue in every flight in HIL mode. auto-takeoff heading is random as far as I can tell.
  • Developer

    Next year I want to see a chainsaw equipped APM rover removing those pesky trees!

  • 3D Robotics

    Final placings:

    Aerial: Team APM got 2nd place in (Doug Weibel assisted by Paul Mather) with "Plan B", an APM-powered Skywalker.  First place was Team Roboto, who was last year's winner too (Antonio was flying his same custom autopilot--secret of success is fine tune a platform and practice practice practice!). Third Place was a team flying the UDB board on a balsa slow stick, which flew very nicely,

    Rovers: APM was entering for the first time, and a team from JPL using a APM-powered rover (a custom version of the APM 2.0 code) came in third. Look for us to improve that next year!

    Other cool (or sad) stuff from the DIY Drones teams:

    --Team Death By Pine Tree (also Doug Weibel) had a great catapult launcher, which worked great. Here it is in the snow ( Sadly after one good run that put him into first place in the first round, two mission planning errors caused aborts in the last two rounds

    --Our two ArduCopter 2.0 quad teams were the first and only quad entries. It's a tough course, and you have the thread the needle between a tree and the building at the last corner. Unfortunately, the tree won twice, and after that some last minute code tweaks introduced bugs that first caused a missed waypoint on the corner, then, when the teams decided to fly higher, one went over the building for a disqualification. Finally a mission planning bug (accidentally used an unsupported waypoint type) tragically led to a fly-way in the final round. There's an ArduCopter loose over Boulder somewhere!

    My own entry, a stock HawkSky flying APM 2.0, was intended to try rise-off-ground auto-takeoff without a catapult or even steerable gear. Let's just say that didn't work out so well. It tracked nice and straight, rotating to a perfect launch, in all the practice runs, but there was something about the angle of the Sparkfun launch spot that made it veer into the crowd each time. Fortunately it's a little foam plane with the prop in back and I killed the motor so it couldn't hurt anyone, but my failures earned me the "kill switch" award for most dangerous bot! Lesson: don't try rise-off-ground autotakeoff without steerable landing gear.

  • Post Aerial Round 2 Standings :

    #1 Death by Pine Tree (Doug Weibul)- Awesome auto launch !

    #2 Robota (Antonio) - Zagi - Smooth and fast with some crowd collision scares!

    Some very exciting crashes too:

    At nearly 100 feet, Team ACM dropped its flight battery and autolanded to gthe ground. The landing gear was shot but overall the unit is still looking pretty good.



    Team Plan B (skywalker in tree pic below) had a great launch but for some reason, it took a right trun right into the pine tree at about 25 feet above ground, too bad!



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