Interesting UAV Work Going on at the University of Calgary

Over the last few of months I have been making regular visits to the lab of Dr. Alejandro Ramirez-Serrano at the University of Calgary.  Called the Autonomous Reconfigurable/Robotic Systems Laboratory (AR2SL) it specializes in research related to (from the web site): 1) Ground and aerial unconventional unmanned vehicle systems (UVS), 2) reconfigurable intelligent mobile robotic systems, 3) swarm robotics, 4) intelligent control for UVS, and 5) search & rescue applications of mobile robotics.

Roughly once a month, and on a very informal basis, a tour is organized where there is a walkthrough of the lab followed by lunch and discussion.  The objectives are simple: expose Dr. Ramirez-Serrano's work to a broader audience, and try and coalesce interest in UAV work in Southern Alberta.  Thought is also being given to setting up a semi-permanent Meetup group to pursue these objectives.

If you would like to be included in one of these upcoming tours, by all means, please get in touch and we can make the necessary arrangements. A photo from a recent tour, which shows the Evader bicopter prototype.  Additional pictures can be found at shard Photo Streams for the tours that ran on 2012-10-18 and 2012-12-13 

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Comment by Jan Detlefsen on December 30, 2012 at 9:44am

Wish that kind of stuff was on iTunes U or some similar place.

Comment by Craig Fraser on December 30, 2012 at 3:27pm

Wish we had cool toys like that when I was in school...

What do you make of the quad frame the prof is holding there?

Comment by Terence C. Gannon on December 30, 2012 at 9:05pm

Don't know a lot about it other than it used ducted fans and apparently had quite decent performance.  I'll see if the prof can provide a few more details.  In the interim, here is a cropped image which provides a little more detailed of this particular vehicle.

Comment by Dan Neault on December 31, 2012 at 8:30am

I've had the "bicopter" code for Ardu pilot, working fairly well for about 8 months or so. I will share when I'm happy with it. The problem with the code atm, is predicting the "swing", which is getting better, put I have alot of other commitments on my time, so not sure when it will be complete

As for the prop guards on his, they look alot like what I used, which are just the tops of a kids sand pail, cut off.

Don't laugh, it works well, and I'll I had to do was trim a little off my props on the lathe :)




Comment by Terence C. Gannon on December 31, 2012 at 9:28am

I believe the Evader is running custom code written by Gary Gress of Gress Aeronautics.  He is a member here and I have pinged him about this thread, so perhaps he'll be able to provide a little bit more info.

Comment by Gary Gress on December 31, 2012 at 5:07pm

Hi everyone, I'm the designer and builder of the eVader aircraft in the photograph.  Dan wasn't far off about using cut-off sand pails for the ducts.  I used some garden planters from Home Depot. 

The basic APM code for the eVader is the same as for the Nymbus bicopter, shown here:

however the Nymbus is constrained to single axis tilting (and flies like a conventional heli or quadcopter), whereas the eVader's prop motors are gimballed in both directions.  Though we haven't yet modified the program to utilize it, gimballing will allow advanced features like stationary pitch or flying fast forward while perfectly horizontal.  Hope this helps.  Btw, thanks Terence.


Comment by Terence C. Gannon on January 2, 2013 at 9:26am

Gary -- I'm gearing up to do a small, hobby-grade version of a bicopter, which in the first iteration will use simple thrust vectoring.  I intend to use the Hobby King KK2 controller and their single access thrust vectoring motor mount.  Do you have any recommendations on sizing the actuator servo for the latter?  I'm wondering if there is a calculation that can be used, or is it just trial and error?

Comment by Dan Neault on January 2, 2013 at 9:48am

Terence, I use 480 sized motors, 12" props, on a 450 size heli frame. Just like I suspect the evader does, the full arm tilts. It will lift 2, 3S, 2200mah battery's, and zip along pretty fast, slowing down is the real issue ATM.

The arms tilt 45 deg +/-, simple servo links.

About the only difference I see between our work, is I added some dihedral (15 degs) to my arms, which seems to help ALOT.

Wish I had more time to spend on it, but I'm a full time automtation design engineer, so I have "other" projects ATM

LOL Gary, garden planters, at least I'm not alone in my madness :) :)

Comment by Terence C. Gannon on January 2, 2013 at 9:51am

Cool, Dan, very helpful, thanks!  Do you have any pictures/videos of your vehicle you want to post?

Comment by Dan Neault on January 2, 2013 at 10:29am

I have some renderings, which look better then the real craft, as she has had her share of hits. I will post when I get home, 2-3 weeks, unless I can find them on my laptop here.




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