Our very first flight (with two way telemetry)

A couple of people at the University I attend and I had our first flight the other day, and we wanted to tell all of you about it.I will start with the goals of our "team". Our goal is to create a network of UAVs that allow for mulitple users and/or multiple ground stations attempting to control multiple vehicles. We felt that the ArduPilot platform was perfect because we have access to source code, it is inexpensive and a vibrant community which could, hopefully, provide feedback.We were able to encorporate two way telemetry by simply adding a software serial line to pins 8 and 11. Because it is a software line we are operating at only 38.4k baud rateAs of right now the ground station only supports three aircraft (because of communication restraints) and can successfully upload wps, tune trims and PIDs, command heading angle, switch to reading wps off EEPROM (when uploading new wps we store in RAM) and a few other, not as exciting things. We changed the telemetry system to a request based system rather than always talking, this was done because the XBees on each AC operate on the same channel.Here is an older photo of the groundstation, no major changes have been made since this screen shot was taken

So our first day out was successful, we flew two aircraft with ground station and two way telemetry. We had an issue with the map being slightly skewed, so we are gonna try again soon. Luckily all commands work through Hyper Terminal or the Arduino Serial Comm screen, which is a bonus.In the future we would like to try flying more aircraft and using the dynamic WP changing features to get a crude version of formation flight, as well as some other high level control schemes.Amain.pdeCommunication.pdeControl.pdeForDIY.pdeGPS_EM406.pdeGPS_UBLOX.pdeNavigation.pdeSensors.pdeServos.pdeSystem.pdeWayPoints.pdexDebug.pde
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  • Been a long time guys!

    Unfortunately, with the semester starting up and it being too cold to fly comfortably in Michigan (we go to an Air Force base so its a process to get flying) we have put the project on hold.

    I would be more than happy, however, to re post the code we had been using, and hopefully the documentation on how the com protocol works.

    We do not use any sense and avoid techniques implemented at the moment, but it is something we have thought about. In our lab we also fly copters hooked up to a Vicon system and we have done some research in the area of avoidance and I will attach a GNC paper from last year.

    Stochastic Patrolling and Collision Avoidance for Two UAV Helicopte...
  • Developer
    Great! This will help me greatly, I wish it was in a repository on Google code...Thanks
  • Admin
    This is pretty good work. I am mainly interested in two way comms between GCS and plane. Have you implemented any form of sense and avoid ? How does each plane avoid each other in air when multiple planes are being controlled from single GCS? Care to share any updates since last report , and code change? Also if u could post any pictures of your airframe. Thanks
  • Any chance of providing the amended source code for the ArduPilot and documentation on the changes made to support two way communications?
  • Very nice work. I think a project to build an open source ground station similar to the paparazzi one would be nice. Any move on trying to fly the aircraft via a serial uplink. I wonder whether a process that basically updates the target way point very quickly would work. So the groundstation knows whether the plane is and the pilot input is processed and the result is a target waypoint that may be only 50 meters ahead of the current position. The autopilot then targets that new waypoint.

    Again, I must say a very nice job.

  • I would be happy to share the source code for the ArduPilot and documentation on the changes made and the comm protocol but not the groundstation.
  • Care to share the project source code? I'd be interested in studying the graphics portion of this.
  • Visual Studio C++ with a QT add on for graphics
  • What language was the ground station software written in?
  • well done!! as SgtRic said, one if difficult enough so two is quite something.
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