3D Robotics


"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.

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  • James, congrats for finishing your thesis! That's one thesis that won't disappear in someone's drawer never to be looked at again. I share your thoughts about openness and collaboration. Even so, thanks a lot for sharing and developing this in the "public eye" of the community (i.e., the git repo, giving feedback in this forum, etc.) not isolated in your office as it so so common. For the benefit of us let's hope you'll continue to hang around and won't become too busy with "real work" :-) On a personal note, thanks for the cmake integration. Makes life _a lot_ easier for us who like to fiddle with the code themselves.

  • I hope your endeavour performs well. There are a lot of challenge's that need to overcome. Personally I only use 10 % of my education over time :-)

  • Developer

    Thanks for the publicity, Chris! I really appreciate everyone's comments. The DIY Drones community is truly impressive. Hobbyists and researchers have collaborated to develop groundbreaking UAV software and hardware that none of us could have hoped to accomplish alone.

  • Excellent written thesis! Thanks for sharing.

  • Developer

    Kudos to James! His work is inspiring. =)

  • At last, someone who touched Ardupilot has the credential needed to make a living on UAV's.

  • @chris u need to share secret detective skills for smelling out UAV stuff ;)
  • Thumbs up!

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