This is spring time and thus the ThermoPilot project is still under intensive development (now the v6.x version) and real tests flights can be conducted because the thermal upwards can be hunted above the fields... Below a sample log flight during a full autonomous thermal hunting in free mode.



 Here a flight log during a 23 km of full autonomous cross country soaring mission in closed loops with 5 waypoints.


An ArduPilot Mega 2560 is installed on the Cularis e-Glider with the ThermoPilot v6.x firmware (an enhanced version of  the ArduPlane v2.33). The ThermoPilot v6.0 includes a lot of improvements for the cross country soaring and the thermal hunting and some dedicated ML algorithms to do a close following of the thermal upwards.


Below the Cularis e-Glider and its big brother, the Fashionista: a 5 meters wingspan e-Glider (a very good thermal hunter)...







During the summer and the spring 2012, the ThermoPilot project will be very active in the air... Stay tuned...

Regards, Jean-Louis

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  • Hi Jean-Louis, will your firmware be available to the FPV souring community?  Anywhere we can download it?Amazing work mate!

  • I don't think that the code has been made available.  I've had an older ardupilot board sitting around for almost 2 years waiting for this firmware, and there was talk of a limited beta, but I haven't heard much since.  

    I recently (as in today) decided to abandon the Ardupilot/APM platform for the uavdevboard and test out the code that Kees put out.  It might not be as refined as APM, but at least it has a released thermal glider firmware.

    Both boards support HIL simulation via XPlane, so at least I can blow up digital planes before trusting my woody to either solution. 

  • 100KM

    Yeah, I would also like to experiment with the thermopilot on my newly aquired 4m ASM17.   Can thermopilot be downloaded somewhere?  I looked in different place to no avail...

  • Jean-Louis are you still there?

    I'm very anxious to be able to test your Thermopilot software on the APM 2.5 hardware.

  • I'm still  not quite clear how it uses the thermals because I dont see any circular thermaling patterns IN you flight logs when it hits some thermal lift. Also have you considered using heat sensors as well as the barometer to more accurately detect thermal lift and sink? Usually the thermal temperature will be higher correct?

  • Hi Jean Louis,

    This is great work and I'm very interested to try automated thermal hunting and soaring as well. Are you able to update your Thermopilot code repository? I see it hasn't been modified since July 2011 and there doesn't seem to be anything related to thermal hunting in there. 

  • Hello Jean-Louis, From the start of your project I followed it and I love it. Cannot wait for the release of this firmware so I can use it on my APM2.0 glider. Do you have any Idea when you want to release it? I cannot wait!

  • Hi Jean-Louis!

    I've been back to visit here quite often.  I am really, really impressed with your work.  Outstanding!

    I have a few questions.  I hope you'll indulge me ...

    Do you do any speed to fly calculations?  Specifically I was wondering if you do anything based on Maccready's work on speed-to-fly?

    Do you have parameters around thermal height, thermal strength and parameters telling the glider when it should leave lift and head back out on course?

    Are you familiar with the work that a graduate student form North Carolina did called the ALOFT project?  More information here.  It might provide you some additional ideas.  I found the thermal modeling and total energy calculations most interesting.

    Lastly, do you have or want any collaborators on this project?  I'm a R/C glider enthusiast, full-size glider pilot and professional software engineer, so I'm pretty well qualified ...  I do want to start a similar project, would be great to build on what you've done rather than rolling my own ...


    Peter (Virginia USA).

  • Now I know that I am a genius.  Just yesterday I said to my kids (who are also glider pilot students) "wouldn't it be cool to use Ardupilot to automate thermal detection and soaring?"  And today, I saw your ThermaPilot project for the first time.

    I will be following you closely, Jean-Louis.  So, you use vario and pitot as your only source of lift detection?  I was imagining some kind of weather feed such as Dr. Jack's thermal predictions...or even optical sensing of lift and sink (if optical detection of lift and sink only existed).

  • Developer


    I have just received a new APM v2.0 dedicated to the ThermoPilot project. I have installed the ThermoPilot v6.4 firmware and it runs very well without any problem. I am very glad to see that there is a new Pitot tube with a static input included. it is very well manufactured like a real airplane Pitot probe. Some photos below of the new APM v2 and the new Pitot probe for the airspeed measurements.

    Regards, Jean-Louis



    Below some photos of the NEW PITOT tube for the APM v2, this is a great value added, here...




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