SLUGS Autopilot. Soon to become Open Source.

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.
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  • Reagarding export control, open sourcing and what not, all I can say is that I do not know anything regarding US legislation, but I do not see why this would become "anything"-restricted. Everything in the AP has either been or will be published in openly available scientific literature (IEEE, AIAA, etc.). Also, we are not using any component that could be considered "weapon grade". So we will make our best effort to make everything openly available.

    @octane-link: By when? Early April at the latest.

    @bcr: I could not agree with you more. It is amazing how expensive it is to buy on one-by-by basis.

    Regarding the ADIS16405 I don't know if it is in production or not. We are thinking of using the ADIS16354.

    Just out of curiosity, how many of you would be interested in using it as-is, and how many would like to, for instance, incorporate the communications protocol into your own project and make use of the ground station software? If there exists interest in one particular component we might make it available before the rest.
  • There's no ITAR problem for microuav autopilots. For example, Micropilot's one is used in Hungary. Don't care about it.
  • IMHO the question "available in Europe" is an alias for "is it ITAR free". ITAR beeing quite a problem for example in the space business where we have to use underpowered SPARC based processors instead of the very good RAD760. It also affects software as ITAR can apply to RTEMs given the fact that it was first developed for misiles. When ITAR applies, it overides any GPL, MIT or whatever licence scheme.
  • Dear Brad,

    Where can I buy ADIS16405 ?


  • ADIS cubes are $530 qty 1 but $325 qty 1k -- actually less, since 1k buyers negotiate.
    Somebody please organize a group buy, or convince sparkfun to buy in bulk and
    undercut the major disties.

    @Brad Powers, how did you get an ADIS16405? That thing looks sweet
  • SLUGS Team - Based on my interactions so far with FD Associates in Washington D.C. (export compliance experts) they would classify making this open source as an uncontrolled export of knowledge, since it is developed in the USA. Before people jump on me saying "Paparazzi as an example of people that somehow got around this" and whatnot... what do you have to say about this?
  • When are you thinking it might be released?
  • Thank you for your comments. Yes, we will be posting regular updates in the website's blog as well as in DIYDrones.
  • Oh this system is just amazing - I think I may have to try and get one of these running myself. Keep up the amazing work guys! Please stay in touch with the DIYDrones community as well!
  • Wow! it is much better than what we have right now with the IDGs. I guess we will migrate to that then. Thanks!
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