The ArduPilot development team is proud to announce the release of the 3.5.0 version of APM:Plane. There have only been a few small changes since the 3.5.0beta1 release 3 weeks ago.

The key changes since 3.5.0beta1 are:

  • addition of better camera trigger logging
  • fixes to override handling (for users of the OVERRIDE_CHAN) parameter
  • fixed a pulse glitch on startup on PX4

See the full notes below for details on the camera trigger changes.

For completeness, here are the full release notes. Note that this is mostly the same as the 3.5.0beta1 release notes, with a few small changes noted above.

The biggest changes in this release are:

  • switch to new EKF2 kalman filter for attitude and position estimation
  • added support for parachutes
  • added support for QuadPlanes
  • support for 4 new flight boards, the QualComm Flight, the BHAT, the PXFmini and the Pixracer
  • support for arming on moving platforms
  • support for better camera trigger logging

New Kalman Filter


The 3.4 release series was the first where APM:Plane used a Kalman Filter by default for attitude and position estimation. It works very well, but Paul Riseborough has been working hard recently on a new EKF variant which fixes many issues seen with the old estimator. The key improvements are:

  • support for separate filters on each IMU for multi-IMU boards (such as the Pixhawk), giving a high degree of redundancy
  • much better handling of gyro drift estimation, especially on startup
  • much faster recovery from attitude estimation errors

After extensive testing of the new EKF code we decided to make it the default for this release. You can still use the old EKF if you want to by setting AHRS_EKF_TYPE to 1, although it is recommended that the new EKF be used for all aircraft.

Parachute Support

This is the first release with support for parachute landings on plane. The configuration and use of a parachute is the same as the existing copter parachute support. See http://copter.ardupilot.com/wiki/parachute/

Note that parachute support is considered experimental in planes.

QuadPlane Support

This release includes support for hybrid plane/multi-rotors called QuadPlanes. More details are available in this blog post: http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/quadplane-support-in-apm-plane-...

Support for 4 new Flight Boards

The porting of ArduPilot to more flight boards continues, with support for 4 new flight boards in this release. They are:


More information about the list of supported boards is available here: http://dev.ardupilot.com/wiki/supported-autopilot-controller-boards/

I think the Pixracer is a particularly interesting board as it is so small, and will allow for some very small planes to fitted with an ArduPilot based Autopilot. It is really aimed at racing quads, but works well on small planes as well as long as you don't need more than 6 servos. Many thanks to AUAV for providing development Pixracer boards for testing.

Startup on a moving platform

One of the benefits of the new EKF2 estimator is that it allows for rapid estimation of gyro offset without doing a gyro calibration on startup. This makes it possible to startup and arm on a moving platform by setting the INS_GYR_CAL parameter to zero (to disable gyro calibration on boot). This should be a big help when flying off boats.

Improved Camera Trigger Logging

This release adds new CAM_FEEDBACK_PIN and CAM_FEEDBACK_POL parameters. These add support for separate CAM and TRIG log messages, where TRIG is logged when the camera is triggered and the CAM message is logged when an external pin indicates the camera has actually fired. This pin is typically based on the flash hotshoe of a camera and provides a way to log the exact time of camera triggering more accurately. Many thanks to Dario Andres and Jaime Machuca for their work on this feature.

Lots more!

That is just a taste of all of the improvements in this release. In total the release includes over 1500 patches. Some of the other more significant changes include:

  • RPM logging
  • new waf build system
  • new async accel calibrator
  • SITL support for quadplanes
  • improved land approach logic
  • better rangefinder power control
  • ADSB adapter support
  • dataflash over mavlink support
  • settable main loop rate
  • hideable parameters
  • improved crash detection logic
  • added optional smooth speed weighting for landing
  • improved logging for dual-GPS setups
  • improvements to multiple RTK GPS drivers
  • numerous HAL_Linux improvements
  • improved logging of CAM messages
  • added support for IMU heaters in HAL_Linux
  • support for RCInput over UDP in HAL_Linux
  • improved EKF startup checks for GPS accuracy
  • added raw IMU logging for all platforms
  • added BRD_CAN_ENABLE parameter
  • support FlightGear visualisation in SITL
  • configurable RGB LED brightness
  • improvements to the OVERRIDE_CHAN handling, fixing a race condition
  • added OVERRIDE_SAFETY parameter


Many thanks to everyone who contributed to this release! The development team is growing at a fast pace, with 57 people contributing changes over this release cycle.

I'd like to make special mention of Tom Pittenger and Michael du Breuil who have been doing extensive testing of the plane development code, and also contributing a great deal of their own improvements. Thanks!

Views: 9376


Moderator
Comment by Alexandre Mainardi (Nuvem UAV) on January 29, 2016 at 8:46pm

Good job again team, APM Code is becoming better update after update!


Developer
Comment by Tom Pittenger on January 29, 2016 at 10:41pm

Woot!

Comment by Pascal P. on January 29, 2016 at 11:35pm

excellent news !

hope to see more about the flash hotshoe soon, I really love the TRIG timing for precise picture positioning. RTK + TRIG should change the aerial mapping business.

Comment by Ultrafuge on January 30, 2016 at 3:09am

Great !

Same here, RTK + camera trigger logging should help a lot. Any info on how to do the triggering i.e. optocoupler etc. ?


Developer
Comment by Andrew Tridgell on January 30, 2016 at 3:44am

@Ultrafuge, there is a bit more info in the comments in this pull-request:

https://github.com/diydrones/ardupilot/pull/3446

we need to get it into the wiki though.

Comment by James masterman on January 30, 2016 at 6:12am
Nicely done! Another feature packed release.
Comment by JB on January 30, 2016 at 8:28am

Awesome stuff as always. Keep it up. :-)


Developer
Comment by Marco Robustini on January 30, 2016 at 10:28am

Excellent relese!


Developer
Comment by Dario Lindo Andres on January 30, 2016 at 11:37am

Hello everyone,

More than a year has been passed since I am working with this CAM feature.

Glad to see that my contributions are finally included in the official code! The next step is to earn the DIYDrones badge of developer ;)

Good job Team!

Regards from Spain,

Dario.

Comment by Are Jo Næss on January 30, 2016 at 12:18pm

Good news! Looking forward to test the CAM messsage.

Any info "the BHAT" flight board? Can't really find anything.

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