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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  • Developer

    Hello Roman,

    I shall be in French Alp during spring (July/August) for conducting real tests flights of the ThermoPilot v6 in High Mountains...  Below a video of the ThermoPilot in action done during the spring 2011...

  • Hello,

    I started this kind of project with a paraglider drone, but yours is fantastic, is there a way to see it live?

    I'm living in Grenoble France...

  • Jean-Louis, that's superb stuff!  I love your work and wish you a great summer's testing!  Do keep us posted with your progress!

  • Developer

    Hello Stan, I have noticed that in major cases, a thermal upwards are created at the same place (without wind). So, during a day, if the weather conditions remains stable the thermal upwards are still located at the same location. Yes, my algorithm is able to find the core of the thermal. Look at some pictures below:




  • Developer

    Hello Robert, This can be a good idea to save weight... I need also to use mean to refuel the Lipo..

    The NASA Albatross UAV uses the dynamic soaring to reload battery with small generator on the wings (may be the reverse use of the motors).

  • Have you, or anybody, ever thought of the idea to have LiPo drop pods.  Like an external fuel tank on an airplane.  Use the external LiPo to get to altitude, and then switch over to an internal LiPo and drop the external one (with a parachute) over the Landing Zone for recovery.

  • Soaring conditions are typically very dynamic, and are changing constantly.  It sounds as if you are logging a waypoint as the approximate center of the thermal, and using that to circle around.  Does your algorithm have a way to "core" the thermal, and account for drift, so as to optimize rate of climb?

  • If only the sun didn't set, you could have a persistent aircraft!  

  • Moderator

    We are not worthy, this is the beginning of a new age. 

  • Developer

    You will find some details of the features of the ThermoPilot in the previous blog at:

    The V6 implement more improvements to increase the accuracy of the thermal upwards finding and automatic recording of the wp in flight. The v7 will use more IA...

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