An Autopilot in the clouds - part 6.
The loooong wait...
Weather here in Denmark is optimal right now, if you’re either a fish or create 110% waterproof hardware. So while waiting to get a decent chance for the UTV1 to get it’s maiden flight, I thought I’d shortly describe a little tool I made to ease mission planning and execution.
The UTV1 has the ability to send and receive telemetry through the GSM net, which make it very appealing to spend a little time on making a graphical front end that can reside on a laptop, that allows you to see the usual stuff the drone GUI’s show (position, status etc), and also allows you to control the craft to some extend.
I’ve build my little GUI with inspiration from the control center of the Apollo era, with a simple button based interface, were buttons light up on error events, state changes etc.
The GUI also allows you to directly chat with the drone (video is included). I’ve kept the voice feedback, because this has proven to be very useful when your eyes is on the sky and not the screen.
1 - A text area that shows the raw messages that is being sent from the vehicle - great for nerdy debugging.
2 - A map area that shows the last know location of the drone.
3 - A text input field that allows you to chat with the drone for mission planning etc..
4 - A representation of the autopilot statemachine - the row of buttons light up as the vehicle makes it through it’s mission.
5 - Button that lights up when connection is established
6 - Button that indicates if manual RC-controller flight has been activated
7 - Button that shows if the statemachine has been brought into terminate mode (which just means that a pleasent glide landing is being attempted), can be manually activated or activated by the range guard mechanism.
8 - A number of warning lights that lights up in various scenarios (pretty self-explaining)
Telemetry can be updated 4 times/second but I keep it to a minimum 1/s for the time being.
Below you'll se a short video of how a set of waypoints can be entered by using the built in chat client - in effect you are actually talking to the drone :) This is a rudimentary first version, with fixed altitudes etc..