Posted by SLUGS Team on January 22, 2009 at 4:13pm
The Santa Cruz Low-cost UAV GNC System (SLUGS) is a high-end UAV Autopilot that is currently under development by the Autonomous Systems Lab at the University of California Santa Cruz. Although not ready for prime time, the project's website shows some significant progress towards a fully functional platform.The SLUGS autopilot is heavily geared towards research in small to medium sized UAVs. Great care has been taken to assure that it has enough processing power for moderately complicated control tasks and at the same time is easily reprogramable via Simulink. This effectively allows to rapidly iterate from simulation to implementation with no intermediate coding.The developed architecture physically decouples sensor integration and INS ﬁltering from the control algorithm and communications by using two 33Fj256MC710 dsPIC Digital Signal Controllers (DSC) interconnected via a high-speed Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) bus. The SLUGS autopilot has been designed to be modular and extendable in order to extend the sensor and peripheral suite as the need arises via CAN bus daughterboards.The Ground Station Software has been developed to decode the incoming telemetry messages from the SLUGS AP. It also works as a Hardware-In-the-Loop interface to Simulink and is the central point to configure the Autopilot.One of the main features of the SLUGS AP is its ability to interact with virtually any Simulink model via a Hardware-in-the-Loop Simulator. There is a predefined protocol to send simulated sensor readings to the AP, as well as a protocol to receive control commands back. But aside from that, one can make the HIL simulator as simple or as complex as one needs. Currently we have a six-degree-of-freedom model of our UAV, and an engine model. Some work is underway to include an atmospheric and weather model.We are currently working very hard to write some sort of documentation and getting all the code ready for public release under the MIT Open Source license and under GIT version control system. We expect this to be ready around April this year.