"AN ADAPTABLE, LOW COST TEST-BED FOR UNMANNED VEHICLESYSTEMS RESEARCH" is the title of James Goppert's Purdue Masters Dissertation that led to the ArduPilotOne multi-vehicle version of the APM code.
Love the preface:
If anyone has ever given you a closed source autopilot and asked you to add a
feature, you know the benefit of open source software and hardware. With the new
spirit of collaboration in the software and academic communities, I can only assume
our future is bright.
An unmanned vehicle systems test-bed has been developed. The test-bed has been
designed to accommodate hardware changes and various vehicle types and algorithms.
The creation of this test-bed allows research teams to focus on algorithm development
and employ a common well-tested experimental framework. The ArduPilotOne au-
topilot was developed to provide the necessary level of abstraction for multiple vehicle
types. The autopilot was also designed to be highly integrated with the Mavlink pro-
tocol for Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) communication. Mavlink is the native protocol for
QGroundControl, a MAV ground control program. Features were added to QGround-
Control to accommodate outdoor usage. Next, the Mavsim toolbox was developed for
Scicoslab to allow hardware-in-the-loop testing, control design and analysis, and esti-
mation algorithm testing and verification. In order to obtain linear models of aircraft
dynamics, the JSBSim flight dynamics engine was extended to use a probabilistic
Nelder-Mead simplex method. The JSBSim aircraft dynamics were compared with
wind-tunnel data collected. Finally, a structured methodology for successive loop
closure control design is proposed. This methodology is demonstrated along with the
rest of the test-bed tools on a quadrotor, a fixed wing RC plane, and a ground vehicle.
Test results for the ground vehicle are presented.