3D Robotics

Restarting the T3 Contest: Now with copters!


Two and half years ago, we started the T3 (Trust Time Trial) Contest here at DIY Drones. The idea was simple: give people a mission to accomplish, on their own field and on their own time. They would record the telemetry, and submit a KML file with the result (we "trust" that it hasn't been faked). We could then compare the result and decide who was the winner (fastest time, best pattern, etc), as if they had all been racing/competing head-to-head. 


Back then, it was an accomplishment just to complete an autonomous mission with a regular plane. But we've made a lot of progress since then, and that's now possible with a multicopter or traditional helicopter, too. So it's time to relaunch the T3 Competition. And we're going to do it by returning to the first mission ever: the Figure Eight, but this time expanded to include copters.


Figure Eight Mission Rules:

  1. There are two categories: Fixed Wing and Rotary Wing (multicopters or traditional helis). 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards will be given in both.
  2. Must complete the pattern as shown above, totally autonomously (go into auto mode before waypoint 1 and exit after you hit waypoint 1 again). The four points are arranged in a square, with 200m on a side for fixed wing aircraft and 100m on a side for rotary wing aircraft (obviously the two diagonal paths are longer). Any aircraft/autopilot allowed. It doesn't matter how close to the waypoints you get, as long as you pass on the outside of them.
  3. Altitude is not graded.
  4. Fastest time in each category to hit all points and return to 1 wins (one lap). 
  5. The Judge will be Gary Mortimer, as always!
  6. Deadline is Sunday, Dec 11th, at midnight PST.
  7. 1st Prize in each category is a $100 gift certificate to the DIY Drones store. 2nd and 3rd prizes are $25 each.

Entries should include these three things:

  1. Total time, along with aircraft (and type: fixed or rotary wing) and autopilot used. A photo of the aircraft would be nice, too.
  2. KML file of the run (an onboard video is also encouraged, but not required)
  3. Screen capture of path exported to Google Earth or an equivalent, annotated with waypoints and where autonomy began and ended. Here's a sample from my first entry, way back then (original ArduPilot!):3689432129?profile=original
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  • 100KM

    Hi guys,

    I just flew the T3 Contest figure 8 in 34 seconds:

    Desktop Record

    I put some technical data in the description of the video.

    To explain the video: The pylons are P1-P4. My target points are T0 to T5. Time passing P1 is 1342.0 (start), the time passing P1 again (finish) is 1376.0. This totals to 34 seconds. I started a bit slow (29 m/s) and speeded up well (around 38 m/s). The flight control is ok, but is still to be improved.

    Here a pic of my plane.

    I burned the original Himax motor this week while tuning. The new Axi motor goes even faster.

    Who breaks the 30 seconds sound barrier?



    Staefa, Switzerland

  • 3D Robotics

    Gary and I are discussing the details. We'll probably announce the next round this week. 

  • So when does the next round start?

  • 3D Robotics

    Bill: Whoops, I forgot that I had already proposed prizes! Yes, we'll stick with those. Again, Jason is exempt (as a dev team member, he gets free hardware), so we'll give Jeremy $150 in the rotary wing category. Colin gets $100 in fixed wing, while Riccardo and Philip get $25 each. 

  • Jason, were you flying in + or x configuration? Also were you using sonar or baro for altitude?

  • T3

    Hi Chris,

    What about the 2nd and 3rd prize winners? Also, it would seem to me that Jeremy would be entitled to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize in the rotary catetory.

    Rule 7 was "1st Prize in each category is a $100 gift certificate to the DIY Drones store. 2nd and 3rd prizes are $25 each".

    Best regards,


  • 3D Robotics

    Congratulations to Colin and Jeremy as the prize-winners in each category! (Jason, as a dev team member, is exempted from the prizes; he already gets all the goodies he needs). 

    For Colin, who flew an AMP 1280 board, I propose a prize of a necessary upgrade: an APM 2560 board! Jeremy, I'm not sure what's best for you, so please PM me with something you'd like from the DIY Drones store of about the same value (and include your address), and I'll arrange for it to be sent to you. 

  • Moderator

    Thanks Chris, the standard of circuits has gone up as well I think.

    Here's the corrected table perhaps...


  • 3D Robotics

    Great work, Gary. Very interesting to see the original results from two years ago, too. The average speed today looks to be about 15-20% faster, and I'm pleased to see that the current crop of autopilots is now nearly 100% open source!

  • Gary, you have my original time. My fastest run (page 10) was 1:43 or 103s.

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