3D Robotics

Awesome simulation setup for ArduPilot!

Jordi's really outdone himself this time! He created a amazing full-featured simulator for ArduPilot that does the following:

  • Uses the servo output from the autopilot or RC controller (depending on which one is selected by the MUX) to "fly" a plane in the X-Plane flight simulator, via a custom interface he's designed around this ARM board.
  • Also flies the plane in manual RC mode with RC controller output going through the MUX and then into the ARM board.
  • Displays the plane's attitude and other flight telemetry with a custom Ground Station built in LabView.
  • Uses LabView to simulate the FMA Co-Pilot, stabilizing the plane in flight using PID loops.
  • Display the plane's position in a moving map using Google Maps, which also shows waypoints.
As you'll observe in the videos here, you can see the plane's: 1) Flight in X-Plane 2) Glass cockpit with full telemetry and debug data in the Ground Station 3) Overhead position and path in Google Maps Here's a diagram that shows how everything is connected:

You'd note that he's using using the ArduPilot Pro board with just one atmega installed for this. (the other atmega does stabilization, which we're doing in the LabView Ground Station for this demo.) It's the board we use for development, since it's easy to replace atmega chips. It's best to have at least two computers and three screens for this, as you'll see in the video. Video 1 (above) just shows the setup Video 2 (below) shows the plane taking off in manual mode, switching to autonomous and flying to first two waypoints Video 3 (below) shows the plane flying to the last two waypoints, and switching back to manual mode and landing. Video 2 Video 3 Full code and instructions on how to create this simulation setup coming soon.

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  • 3D Robotics
    I'll post the latest schematics and PCB files tonight.
  • I am absolutely blown away by the simulator and demo. A simulator is definitely the best way to test.

    This should be very useful for testing the ardu-pilot pro as well, nice work Jordi.

    Are the final board schematics complete? Are they available? I'm ready to make one myself, that demo has left me very confident on what it is already capable of.
  • very nice jordi ! can you post LABView code?
  • 3D Robotics
    Maybe another month. It just depends on our production partner...
  • Very impressive work jordi!
    I know the Ardupilot Pro is still in alpha, but is there and eta for the "basic" Ardupilot release?
    Cheers and keep up the good work.
  • Well, It's really very good.
    I'm curious, you can read the airplane attitude and GPS from Xplane?

    Provided one could input from code as well, would it not be possible to run the arduino C code on the PC, and create a fully virtual simulator as well? (for the hardwarephobes)

  • Developer
    I made many mistakes while speaking.. Is difficult to point the camera, speech in another language, and control the system at the same time. =P
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