High accuracy auto-landing using the Albatross UAV and PX4 Flight Stack

The PX4 development has in the past been focused on smaller planes and wings not requiring a runway, but with lasers available for some time now it adding runway support made sense. We focused on high accuracy, as can be seen in the video. The plane is nice composite model and a Kickstarter project, the Albatross UAV.

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Comment by Harold Burke on November 9, 2015 at 9:01am


Comment by Hein du Plessis on November 9, 2015 at 10:16am
Wow that's a smooth landing.. How far are you off the landing waypoint?
Comment by robert bouwens on November 9, 2015 at 11:53am


the smoothest landing i have seen so far.

Comment by PX4 on November 9, 2015 at 12:04pm

@Hein: If you look at the video closely you'll see a neon marker in the grass on the last landing. Judging by the video its laterally spot on and less than a wingspan short of the desired halt position, which is quite good given the varying friction of grass.

Comment by Hein du Plessis on November 9, 2015 at 12:31pm

@PX4 - I understood the neon marker is from the previous landing? I was wondering how close the wheels came down on the touch down point set up on Mission Planner - I get within 5-15 meters with a large wheeled aircraft: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtjArDGVJHc and within 5 - 10 meters with a foamy belly landing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7m7Vj0qbbNg

Comment by Hein du Plessis on November 9, 2015 at 12:33pm

(can't edit comment) But every 10 landings or so, it's significantly off. It's also dependent on wind - high wind landings are short, low wind are long. I can't seem to compensate, I'd like to get it better, but not sure if it's possible.

Comment by Adam Kroll on November 9, 2015 at 7:03pm

Awesome work PX4 team.

I've found that I can get the landings pretty close 5m with no wind, but then when the wind picks up the landings will be off along the strip up to 20m and side to side 5m.  I use crow flaps too, which works really well, except when there's extreme wind, when the wind gets over 10knots its better to turn off crow flaps and just use standard flaps and come in a bit faster.

Can you please post details on your landing gear and braking system, ie some photos and where you bought it.  Also does the autopilot control the brakes or are you doing this manually?

Comment by Martin Rüedi on November 9, 2015 at 10:03pm

Cool, even cooler when I noticed this was done at Schupfart!! Many years ago I enjoyed two weeks of state funded pilot training there (FVS, now Sphair). And since my learning progress stagnated a bit at the end my career as full scale pilot ended there also...

Comment by Owen Cardew on December 11, 2015 at 5:03pm

Hi PX4 - I've been in touch with the guys at Applied Aeronautics today. I'm keen to buy an Albatross for Aerial Surveying, however im told the PX4 uses QGroundControl, which has no survey tools or options to trigger cameras... Do you know if its possible to somehow use this with Mission Planner instead? I read something about importing the load custom firmware option in Mission Planner, but being a noob at all this i'm a litle scared... I'd like this to be a serious Aerial Surveying platform, not a paperweight by crashing the first day, haha! Looking forward to any advice you can offer... :)

Comment by Adam Kroll on December 13, 2015 at 7:03pm

Hi Owen, I bought this plane to test and get all the settings right before moving to the Albatross, http://www.readymaderc.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&a....  I have crashed it a lot of times, trying out different parameters.  If you intend on using either PX4 or arduplane firmware on a pixhawk, they have so many different parameters it takes a lot of testing before getting your setup right.  The good thing about a foamie is you can glue it back together.  If you crash a albatross, there's no easy fix.

I don't use PX4, only arduplane, but with arduplane there is a lot of different ground control platforms, I assume its the same with PX4.


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