I'm almost embarrassed to post this video. It was done almost entirely with open-source software, so it's obviously way behind what people are doing with commercial software and commercial systems. But I have fun and entertain myself with this stuff, so I thought I'd share a brief snippet.
What you are seeing is FlightGear (http://www.flightgear.org
). I have a FlightGear model of a Sig Rascal 110 (which I've flown in real life many times.) The 3d model and the flight dynamics model are also open-source so of course are also subpar from anything that would be done commercially. The FlightGear flight dynamics engine is outputting gyro, accelerometer, and gps data to an external embedded computer running MicoGear. MicroGear takes the "sensor" data, runs it through a 15 state kalman filter (the one piece here that isn't open-source) and estimates roll, pitch, yaw, and location.
Because this is FlightGear I already know the true pitch, roll, and yaw, but I promise I'm not cheating here. The kalman filter on the embedded board is estimating these values and using them as input to the autopilot and routing algorithms also running on the embedded board. The only difference between this and real life from the microgear/embedded-processor point of view is that it's not getting it's data from the onboard sensors and it's not driving servos directly. Instead it sends the servo commands back to FlightGear and the control surfaces are moved over there in the simulator.
This turns out to be a really nice hardware in the loop testing platform and many subtle issues that show up in real life, also show up in the simulator. Because this is FlightGear, a person can throw a variety of weather conditions at the system, turbulence, high winds, etc. You can disable fuel consumption and run for hours or days if you like.
I am very tempted to turn in a "virtual" entry into one of the upcoming DIY drones contests. :-) Oops, I almost started to crack a smile there. Ok, I'm back to my long, sullen, down trodden facial expression, because after all this is all pretty much all open-source software -- which just sucks -- total crap I know -- sorry to even waste your time and bandwidth with any of this guys. I won't post anything ever again until I have something actually useful or interesting to show.