ArduPilot successful flight simulation

A photo of successful flight as seen in Google Earth and X-plane:

Here is another ArduPilot simulation inspired by Jordi's simulation.My simulation requires minimum additional hardware, all you need is ArduPilot connected by FTDI cable to PC.Actual simulation runs in X-plane simulator. ArduPilot get simulated GPS data over serial, and it returns back proposed servo positions back over serial as part of telemetry info (servos can also move physically). ArduPilot also reports bunch of variables - lat/lot/alt, next waypoint, distance to it, etc.What you need to repeat the simulation:- Modified ArduPilot code from this blog post- X-plane 9 demo (buy full version if you wish, but demo works just perfect, it only ignores joystick input after 10 minutes, but we control it other way so it really doesn't limit us)- Google Earth- ArduSimulator (developed by me), which is simple application that does following:1) Connects to ArduPilot over serial for sending/receiving data2) Connects to X-plane on localhost (same PC)3) Reads data from X-plane (lat/lon/alt/course), sending these to ArduPilot as GPS sentences4) Simulating FMA copilot stabilization on ailerons/elevator5) Reads and displays telemetry and servo positions from ArduPilot6) Sends servo positions to X-plane to control throttle and rudder7) Records fly path and sends it to Google Earth to displayHere's how to repeat the simulation:- Start X-plane, go to Menu->Settings->Net Connections, select tab Inet 3 and enable "IP of data receiver", change IP address to and port to 49001. It looks like this:

- Select Aircraft from folder Aircraft\Radio Control\GP_PT_60 (yes, we want to fly RC plane which has ail/elv/rud/thr controll)- Select airport Innsbruck- You can open this KML path: Innsbruck.kmz in Google Earth, which was my testing fly plan configured in ArduPilot; this will show you the waypoints- upload compiled ArduPilot code to the board and leave it running; LOCK LED should keep flashing- start ArduSim.exe (simulator tool); it will connect to serial port and X-plane; if it can't connect to serial, specify correct port and baudrate and press Start button- click [Google Earth] button in ArduSim to make connection with GE- hit B in X-plane to release brakes, and try keys A/W/C to choose various viewsNow simulation should be running if everything is connected successfully, and you should see plane in X-plane to fly and visualization path & icon in Google Earth to move. Don't control plane in X-plane! ArduPilot will take-off and fly on its own.Here's video how it all looks in action:And complete flight path visualization for Google Earth: Flight.kmzYou can see original waypoints in white, and real fly path in yellow. And also final circulation over start point when all waypoints were visited...Now about problems and future tasks:- I have strong impression that controlling altitude by throttle with use of copilot stabilization doesn't work properly, this simulation showed me that plane didn't want to drop altitude from high point to lower one... see results in above flight path in GE. I'm not sure how real plane behaves (didn't went out to real world with this yet), we'll see.- For this reason I plan to start playing with complete stabilization in ArduPilot, and controlling both elevator+throttle to get desired altitude.- You can play with dozen of various parameters to control behavior, most obvious are PID settings for throttle/rudder in ArduPilot, but also PID values in stabilization (which is here provided by simulator tool, in real world it is FMA Copilot which you can control by its sensitivity setting). Then you can change maximal servo rotation for ArduPilot to work with. All these values make the plane fly smoother, make more precise turns, etc etc. And the settings seem to depend on actual aircraft and its physical behavior. So there won't be single settings working for everyone.- It's somehow cumbersome to specify different altitude for various waypoints; while I converted waypoints from KML file out of Google Earth, I had to specify individual altitudes manually in waypoints.h file in ArduPilot code.After all, I'm pretty happy to see the plane flying in simulator and doing the task! Note that it's ArduPilot doing the navigation work. And in a real airplane, this simulation allows to reuse the ArduSim application as a base station, getting telemetry from plane over Xbee modem and displaying what it does as well as showing path in Google Earth.
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  • Moderator

    Never mind, I found it in the manual. Actually don't know how I missed it! 


    Will gladly accept any additional insights.  Getting ready to start my first simulation with xplane...

  • Moderator
    Does anyone know if the simulator works with ArduPilot 2.7?
  • Quick question, does anyone have an arduino .pde version of the flight software that works with ardusim? I am having some difficulty converting .vs back to .pde.


    Any help would be greatly appreciated.



  • Will this work with Ardupilot Mega?

  • Hi Chester,
    Did you check the throttle pin setting in configuration file?
  • Hi,

    I'm using X-plane simulation. When i start the program controlling maually, only my aelirons and elevator does move in the simulator. My throttle and rudder are not moving at all. Does anyone know why this happens? I am using ardupilot with shield. I can't get the aircraft to take off.
  • Hello,

    is it possible to load .hex file without avrdude.exe?
    I've the same problem:
    avrdude.exe: stk500_getsync(): not in sync: resp=0x06
    avrdude.exe: stk500_disable(): protocol error, expect=0x14, resp=0x06
  • Hi there,

    I try to upload the modified code using upload command but I get many error messages. I used Visual Studio 2005 to obtain the hex file as indicated above. When I issue upload command I get the following error:
    avrdude.exe: stk500_getsync(): not in sync: resp=0x94
    avrdude.exe: stk500_disable(): protocol error, expect=0X14, resp=0xe4

    I am using Arduino pilot board (red board) with Ardu shield and Ublox GPS receiver.
    Any advices?
  • Here is a video I recorded using Debut screen capture sw:
    This simulation is just great, I am really impressed.

    Worth to modify it for the new Ardupilot versions. Considering the accuracy of the X-Plane simulator, it's capable for developing and testing the robotpilot algorithms as well.
  • Finally succeeded, I don't know what was wrong. I checked the internal network communication, and suddenly it started. Next time and now any time it's working.
This reply was deleted.