3D Robotics

Pixhawk-based VTOL aircraft code now available


Bart Theys from the awesome vertiKUL team at University of Leuven that has been posted on here and here, was kind enough to share the code from his team's Pixhawk-based VTOL aircraft. He explains:

We used Arducopter and made a new flight mode we call ' cruise ' , this modes is the same as stabilize but when you turn a switch on the transmitter, the pitch angle gradually decreases over a period of 3 to 5 seconds. After this transition, the UAV maintains altitude and heading. The pilot ( or the traject generator ) can change the desired altitude and heading. The altitude is controlled by either increasing the thrust ( and thus speed, lift ) , or increasing the pitch angle ( larger angle of attack ). The second strategy still requires more testing. 

We had a lot of help on the forum and the mailing lists, I was mainly Menno Hochstenbach who did the work on the controller, you'll find much information if you check his topics and questions ;)

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  • could anyone compile the code?

  • From last year (aug 2014) anything new? (code wise)?

  • is it only  for "tailsitter" or also for tilt-prop / fixed-wing configurations?

  • Is the transition done only with a switch command?  can it be done by the pitch stick?


  • We have 3 flight modes:

    stabilize ( like a quadrotor )

    cruise: make a transition to forward flight, after that the pilot can control only the heading and the altitude. The controller controls the airplane yaw ( or roll for quadrotor) to change the heading and increases the thrust to gain altitude by flying faster. 

    Autonomous: trajectory commands are sent to the cruise controller

  • Looks like PX4 is no more supported for further development?

  • T3

    This is great!  I hope this makes it onto the main firmware, I'd hate to see it languish in older firmware.

    I have always wanted one of these: http://transition-robotics.com/

    But the fact that it didn't run APM was a major put-off for me.

    Do you have it flying autonomously?  I'm guessing cruise is only manual.

    How does it handle the yaw and roll axis being swapped?

  • Good challenge... Thanks a lot... 

  • Has anyone gotten autotune + follow me + terrain following + VTOL transition + kalman filter simultaneously working in the same load?

  • Thank you for sharing.

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