AttoPilot comes with two desktop programs, a full-featured ground station and a basic KML-to-TXT converter.
Before I get into the specifics, I'll give some quick impressions.
The Ground Station is intended to be used while the aircraft is in the air or to replay a saved flight file. It can display real-time telemetry data if you have a radio modem hooked up to AttoPilot, and can send commands back to AttoPilot if that radio modem is 2-way. It's a nicely done professional piece of software and seems to cover all the bases. Two thumbs up.
The KML-to-TXT converter is a bit of a kludge, compensating for the fact that AttoPilot doesn't have a native way to input waypoints. Instead, it recommends using Google Earth Plus to point-and-click waypoints, exporting them as a KML file that the supplied utility can covert into a form that AttoPilot can use. Unfortunately, this process, which is pretty cumbersome at the best of times, is now also impossible, since Google has stopped selling Google Earth Plus. I've asked Dean for advice on what people should do about that, but haven't heard back yet.
[UPDATE: Dean says that the free Google Earth 5 now includes the KML export feature. So ignore the Google Earth Plus reference in AttoPilot instructions, which I assume will soon be updated]
There is also, to my mind, a missing piece of software, which is a setup utility. In the absence of that, the main way you adjust AttoPilot for your plane is by editing a text file that is stored on the on-board SD card. That file is pretty scary looking (and we should know, since we currently make people do something similar with ArduPilot, although we'll be releasing a setup utility that avoids that soon), and consists of hundreds of lines that look like this:
I assume that in later versions of AttoPilot, there will be some program that helps you enter those values. In the meantime, however, it's a relatively daunting process of trial-and-error, reading the manual and tweaking a supplied generic file. I haven't flown a plane with it yet, so I don't know how well the generic file will work for my target platform, an EasyGliderPro, but I'll update this as I learn more.
For the rest of the review,. I'm going to focus mostly on the Ground Station software, which is the most polished part of the package. Here's the main screen, showing the playback of a flight:
The menu items give you the following dialog boxes.
When you click "Read from AttoPilot", the following boxes are added to the interface:
If you have a 2-way radio modem, those boxes allow you to send in-flight commands to AttoPilot. These are the available commands:
If you click on "Show PID", you get a new window that creates graphs of key values over time:
The "KML Utilities" launch the aforementioned KML-to-TXT file converter. You can convert both ways:
All in all, an impressive piece of software. My hope is that in the next version of AttoPilot, the waypoint entry and setup process will display an equal level of polish.