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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  • Ok, I compiled the modded code using Visual studio and uploaded to the red Ardupilot board.
    I had to use AvrISPmkII as my efforts failed using avrdude.

    The blue Led is blinking, and turns continous if I send GPS data using a third party GPS emulator with 19200 baud.

    I followed the instructions, set the IP in X-Plane etc.

    The X-Plane indicates that it receives data, if I start the Ardusim.
    However the lat, lon etc. fields remain blank in Ardusim.

    The blue led on Ardu kept blinking, and there was no serial communication on the serial port (checked by oscilloscope).

    What to do?
    Help please...
  • Hi,
    I tried to setup the simulation. Unfortunately it failed at the first step: The arduino compiler sent many error messages.
    I have the new red ardupilot board, and arduino 0016.

    It's a great project, hope it will have some follow-up.
  • Hi Michan !
    Does your simulation wporks for ArduPilot 2.3 code also ?
  • Is this project still being worked on? I'm just researching, but I understand ArduPilot doesn't use FMA CoPilot anymore - it does its own internal stabilization reading the XYZ sensors directly. Does the simulator support sending ArduPilot simulated XYZ sensor readings from X-Plane?
  • Hi I am using the 1.0 code at the moment. done few test flight, the GPS does not seem working right.. so I want to do a sim ,see if I can find out what's going on. but if I run the Upload.bat does it update the .hex file??

    after the update can it still be using install in to a plane work like it use to be? or do I have to burn it back to the old .hex file? if so where I can get it and how can I burn it back? Thanks.
  • Is it possible to extract bearing information from X-plane or Flightgear ?
    I was trying to simulate Bill's UAV dev board in similar way as Michael has done. Only difference is I want to use bearing (VOR) navigation in place of GPS and gain values tuned for flying a Cessna-172 in FG or X-plane.
  • Bryan: thanks for hint, I'll give it try and update the code.
  • I finally got it working, Yay....Does anyone know how to change the speed. So if you wanted you can use a life size plane in X-Plane?
  • Hi Michal--I had a friend help me get the simulation working. He noticed one possible issue with ArduSim--in Serial.cpp, lines 34 and 49, the com port string starts out "COM". It should really start with "\\\\.\\COM" instead so that machines with more than 10 serial ports will function correctly. The latter version is more general and will work in all cases.
  • I cant get it to work, would someone be kind enough to walk me through it. I uploaded the code to the AP and I get the blue blinking light, but nothing else works? The AP simulator shows no data on the left?
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