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.

Views: 2623

Comment by Steven Harbauer on March 6, 2009 at 6:22am
Was the labview vi's ever posted. I would like to see how this was implemented.
Comment by UFO-MAN on April 2, 2009 at 12:06am
I would be interested in those VI¨s to learn from too.

Comment by UFO-MAN on April 3, 2009 at 1:52am
Hi, I would be interested in the code for the ARM board: I guess the ARM board decodes the pulse widths of the servo outputs from the Ardupilot and emulates a joystick input into the X-plane simulator.

I would also like to know if the small RC plane model for X-plane is available? (A small RC plane has very different flight surface parameters that a large plane. This translates into different roll rates, different inertias, different lift etc. What RC model did you use?)

Last, It would be nice to see how the PID regulator in LabView is designed (see above post about VI).

Comment by Paul Har on May 25, 2009 at 9:07am
I cant get it to run do I have to buy labview?

Comment by Krzysztof Bosak on September 11, 2009 at 10:51am
Jack Crossfire:
"X-Plane is an interesting program at least as regards the author. One guy started writing it in 1994 & has made enough money selling it for $60 a copy to fly real airplanes & buy a ride in Spaceship 2."

Austin Meyer
Austin has been a plane and computer enthusiast from a young age. He took his first flying lesson at age 15 and had his pilot certificate by the age of 17.
He is almost as self-made man as Bill G. No illusions about American Dream ;-)

Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on September 11, 2009 at 12:56pm
As usual, the ARM board is on back order at Sparkfun.

Comment by Rémy castiaux on October 22, 2009 at 8:25am

I am a novice on this website. I work for a company that develops small unmanned helicopter for the cinema industry. I write you because I would know what are the best software technologies to have a moving map in a ground station. I currently work with labview and I would like to have a map with my UAV geo-referenced and also be able to work in way point navigation. It exists some tools that provide a 3D visualization of the relief?
Thank you very much for your help/advices/informations,


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