3D Robotics


3689413502?profile=originalThe results are in, and we have some great reports from the AUVSI student competition. A Paparazzi-powered UAV came in first, and APM made its best showing ever, with APM-powered UAVs in  7th, 15th and 16th place.


Dan Strider reports:

There were 26 teams registered this year, 22 of which showed up to competition and I believe 17 of which had successful flights (two teams had ground troubles and would have otherwise flown). Of the 17 flying teams, I personally saw several autonomous takeoffs and landings and most teams flew on autopilot for a significant portion of the flight. It seemed more teams flew still imagery rather than video, though it still surprised me how many teams did not have in-flight transmission of the imagery. WIFI was quite common, especially the Ubiquity hardware. Several teams were flying 72 MHz, though it seemed most were on 2.4 GHz (some despite the 2.4 WIFI) and several were flown through their comm links. The aircraft themselves were perhaps the most conservative across the field we've had. There was a lone quad-rotor representing rotary wings and one canard (which flew quite well I might add). Many teams flew trainer-style Telemasters/Kadets/Rascals, though the foam and/or composite molded aircraft were popular as well. Sizes ranged from about 4 lb up to 55.0 lb (their quote, heh). There were some crashes on Saturday, but Friday was remarkably a clean day and shows the caliber and professionalism of the teams.

Drumroll please...

The overall winner was Utah State University FOSAM
, with a near sweep of the categories. Their flight was fully autonomous: one mouse-click to put it in flying mode and one mouse click to select the landing mode. The in-flight imagery system was second to none, with onboard automatic target recognition and three imagery operator stations on the ground. Utah won two years ago as well, making them the first two-time winner. 

Second place was North Carolina State University, the only team to find all five targets and figure out the acronym A-U-V-S-I. They also did an autonomous takeoff, but didn't quite pull off the auto-landing. Their flight was fully autonomous except for the last 3 feet before touchdown. NC State was the overall winner last year and is the only team to have competed in all nine years of the competition.

Mecha adds:

I'll make a quick mention of some of the autopilots used in the event this year. Overall I saw an increased number of Paparazzi users and ArduPilot Mega.

At least 3 universities including 1st place winners Utah FOSAM team used Paparazzi. Several Piccolo users, NC State and the Air Force Academy amongs them. There where a few kestrels (can't remember the teams). Several teams with MicroPilot including Florida International University. At least 3 teams with ArduMega: Bucknell University, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology. 

There where no teams this years that I am aware off that used Attopilot, Unav or FeiYu Tech.

Here's is the final list, with autopilots in bold where known:


1- Utah State University FOSAM -- Paparazzi
2- North Carolina State University -- Piccolo
3- Sherbrooke University (Canada) -- Paparazzi
4- United States Air Force Academy -- Piccolo
5- California State at Northridge
6- University of California at San Diego -- Kestrel
7- Delhi Technical University (India) -- APM
8- Kansas State University -- Piccolo
9- University of Arizona -- Piccolo
10- M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology (India) -- Paparazzi
11- Utah States University ROSAM -- Paparazzi
12- Cornell University
13- Virginia Commonwealth University
14- Mississippi State University -- Piccolo
15- Bucknell University  -- APM
16- Embry Riddle Aeronautical University -- APM
17- Florida International University  -- Micropilot
18- Great Mills High School --- Micropilot
19- Rutgers University  -- APM
20- University of Texas at Austin -- APM?
21- University of Texas at Arlington -- APM?
22- Wentworth Institute of Technology
N/A - University of California at Los Angeles
N/A- Illinois Institute of Technology
N/A- Hampton Roads Area High School -- Homebrew
N/A- Cal State Poly Pomona


[Picture at top from Dan Strider]

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  • We created virtual serial port using a software..For the GCS it was a normal serial port and not the TCP port...

  • So were you talking via TCP port on the GCS?
  • We modified the APM code for fail safe and gimbal stabalization..Added virtual comm port for telemetry port since we were using ethernet based communication module...Rest we used as it is...Dint add anything to the GCS.....!
  • What was missing? What did you have to add to my GCS to make it work for the competition?
  • Hi , am a member of Delhi Tech University!! Had fun with APM over last three months .Thanks to everyone who has contributed in the making of ArduPilot Mega.Many thanks to HappyKillMore for a very useful GCS!!Cheers to the open source community!
  • Using the APM Planner. Have not looked into the log file yet.

  • Moderator

    @Marlan, bad luck but thats why these competitions exist its really not as simple as most people think this sUAS flying. Just entering is brave enough in itself. I watched as much as I could via streaming and it looked great.


    I think anyone entering should use a GCS with a Spanish waiter as standard though ;-)


    sUAS are certainly complying with Moore's law when it comes to progression.

  • That's not a landing....that's called a crash!!!


    What GCS were you using? Did you get the log file to see what happened?

  • University of Texas at Austin-APM

    The original flight computer for the custom autopilot burned-out a few weeks before competition and not being able to get a new SBC quickly, APM was used as a backup. Autonomous image recognition was working and APM was working fine but, during the competition the radio went into failsafe shortly after takeoff.  The pilot quickly regained control but during the landing it went into failsafe again just before touchdown and landed upside down.

  • Developer

    Sam, Thanks for your response. It's interesting to hear your viewpoint.

This reply was deleted.