Senior Telemaster Autonomous Take Off

This is probably basic/simple stuff, but here's a quick (raw) video of a fully autonomous wheeled take off in a Senior Telemaster.  The basic strategy used so far is to steer with the rudder to hold heading error to zero.  Then when airborne, use a small amount of gentle bank to steer the heading error to zero.  My roll gains could be better, but they finished the day much improved over the start (and hopefully will continue to improve as I have a chance to review the flight data.)  There is some lateral drift as you can see, but probably on par with the performance of an "average" RC pilot, and on this day there was some moderate cross wind component to deal with. 

The autopilot system we are developing uses the APM2 for sensors and then a gumstix overo for all the heavy lifting and computation.  I have a series of blog postings starting here that show a bit more about the system.

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3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on October 3, 2012 at 8:43pm

Nice! I could have used that code in last year's Sparkfun AVC. My attempts at wheeled autonomous takeoffs (with a tiny foam plane) ended up in the crowd three times out of three. Ended up hand launching :-(

Comment by Andrew Tridgell on October 3, 2012 at 11:33pm

Great stuff Curt! I found the best way to tune the ground steering was to set a throttle limit below what is needed for takeoff (say 20%) and do runs along the runway, deliberately causing it to go off course by using the rudder stick on the transmitter to steer then look at how well it corrects. Adjust up the gain on the steering until it is just below the oscillation point.

We used this technique on the Mugin for our OBC entry, and the resulting auto takeoff in the competition was perfect.

Cheers, Tridge


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