Congratulations to Antonio Lyska, the UAV winner of the Sparkfun Autonomous Vehicle Competition! In his final run, he did a 26 second lap and then nailed an autonomous landing in the box for a 30 second deduction, for a final score of negative 4 seconds. Even more impressive, this was totally DIY--he's been working on his Rabbit-powered IMU-based board for five years, and coded everything from scratch, including a beautiful custom ground station. He's so confident in his setup that he doesn't even watch his plane in flight--he just watches the action on his ground station. That's him above, with his flying wing crossing the start line for the victorious run. So calm!
In second place, with a time of 3 seconds (18 second run, minus 15 seconds for attempting an autonomous landing) was Doug Weibel, with ArduPilot IMU (version 2.6 code) on his SkyFun. His plane did a gorgeous run, with sharp turns and rock-solid stabilization and the fastest time of any UAV, but it got a bit lost coming in for the autonomous landing and ended up crash-landing in a nearby parking lot. But autonomous landing was attempted, and the plane gave up some foam to get those 15 points!
In third place was the University of Arizona Paparazzi team, which impressed everyone with their autonomous landings. The last one just missed the box, but otherwise it was very solid all day. Their best score was 5 seconds, after deductions.
Jordi and DIY Drones came in fourth place with 37 seconds (no deductions attemped) with our ArduPilot (2.5.4 thermopile code) and EasyStar.
The UAVDevBoard teams impressed everyone with their awesome vertical starts, acrobatic maneuvers and stunning stability. Unfortunately all that sky candy came at the cost of clipping corners (in the case of Ben Levitt's Acromaster), so he didn't get a course completion score.
Adam Barrow managed to go to a local hobby shop and get replacement parts to reubuild his T28, which was flying perfectly with the UAVDevBoard. But in the final practice flight he lost control in manual mode and piled it in again, so he wasn't able to compete in the final rounds. But based on the glimpse of autonomous performance, that plane and autopilot are going to be a serious contender next year.
For next year, we're thinking acrobatic plane and quad copters are going to win the day, given the scoring system. Can't wait!