IMAV 2012 Review

3689469252?profile=originalMaybe somebody heard about IMAV - International Micro Air Vehicle Conference and Flight Competition. This year it was held in Braunschweig, Germany, 3-6 July. I was there and presented a paper about my project - SmartAP. Also our team took part in flight competition. Here is a short summary of the trip.
In general, teams from all European countries took part in conference and competition. Moreover, there were people from the United States, Australia and China too.

Ok, let's start. We got to Germany by plane, so the quad was disassembled and packed to prevent it from damages.

A couple of hours was spent on its assembly.

The next day was the first conference day. That day we (me and my co-author) made a presentation in "Guidance, navigation and control" section. The subject of my paper is "Micro Air Vehicle Autopilot For Commercial and Research Purposes":

The flight competition is divided into two parts - Outdoor and Indoor.
Each of both parts is also divided into two groups - Autonomy and Dynamics. In Autonomy one a vehicle had to fly far enough, recognize horizontal and vertical targets, then fly through arches, drop a ball and make precision landing. The Dynamics section required to demonstrate as many time as the vehicle can pass through arches in a certain amount of time (4 minutes).
Only FPV or fully autonomous piloting were allowed.

We took part only in Outdoor, generally because of our vehicle is too big to compete in indoor.
The good thing that we used the quad with our custom autopilot, presented the day before at the conference.

So, here is our ready to fly quad:

And here we go:

Here are some photos about what the other teams have:





Very interesting solution (by the way, based on Ardupilot Mega):

Our team enjoying the flights of the other guys:

The next day was dedicated to Indoor Flight Competition. Several teams took part in fully-autonomous mode. However, generally, participants flew in manual mode by FPV.

The place for the competition:

An only team, which took part in Indoor Dynamics in fully-autonomous mode. It was really impressive:

The other teams:


The last day, as well as the first, was dedicated to paper presentations.

As for the main trends, the most important subjects at the conference, in my opinion, were dedicated to autonomous navigation based on onboard video processing or laser range finders. Significant part of papers was about aerodynamics, especially about the researches on the new concept types of micro air vehicles.

Approximately half of participants in Outdoor Autonomy took part in autonomous mode and another half in manual FPV mode. However, in both Outdoor and Indoor dynamics almost all the teams took part in manual FPV mode.
It's very pleased to see the efforts to fly autonomously, but almost every team crashed at least once during their flights. Therefore, manual FPV flight remains to be more predictable and reliable so far. But likely so far...


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  • Randy, yes, they are using Hokuyo. Mostly, they are implemented on commercial copters, which price is about several thousands dollars, so the laser range finder is not the most expensive part there, as it would be for amateur copters.


    David, this project belongs to the guys from Aachen University (Germany, as far as I remember). Yes, they have servos to control the wing AoA. 

    I'm currently working on a video, which will include the best moments of the event (we filmed a lot of video, including our flight and presentation speech too). I will share it as soon as it will be ready.


    Roman, here is the full paperThe video will be available a little bit later. If you have any questions - feel free to ask me.

    As for vertical and horizontal targets, there were huge posters (~1 x 0.5m) with letter or digit laying on the ground or standing. The task was to name the digit shown. It seems to be very hard to recognize automatically, so, all the teams used just realtime video on a ground control station screen transmitted from the copter to identify and notify about the symbol shown.

  • 3D Robotics

    Great report and photos. Many thanks for sharing this!

  • Interesting post Kirill, would you be able to share your research paper - it is super interesting to see your perspective!

    Also what kind of components/software were the teams in the competition using in order to identify vertical and horizontal objects?



  • Can you tell us a little more about the craft shown in image 5.jpg - is there a servo controlling the wing AoA or is it a passive hinge?  Did you happen to get any video of your craft flying the courses? Thank you very much for the report and photos!

  • Developer

    You mentioned the laser range finders...were people using the Hokuyo laser range finders ($1200+) or something else?  Yes, I'm fishing and hoping to hear that somebody came up with something cheaper...

  • Thanks Kirill!

  • Thanks to share ! really interesting... i also use FPV mode in conjonction with APM


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