T3 Back to the Future


Remember back, way back in autopilot years probably about 20. The year 2009 and the first round of our gentlemens (ladies are allowed just none have ever entered) competition the T3 challenge.

Back then just flying way points was hard and all this gear was expensive. Ardupilots were made at Sparkfun in batches that ran out quick.


Lets try it again I suspect this time the challenge would really be flying it faster than somebody FPV racing.

Read about the first time here for hints and tips. 

As tech has moved on all aircraft types welcome lets make it not above 50m and 5 laps. All of course autonomous. Extra marks if that is from take off to landing.I will count the time from take off to landing so screaming dives to the start will not help. KMLs as evidence please!

UPDATE: Rovers (and boats) are also allowed! There will be a special rover/boat class, and you only have to beat other vehicles in that class. The course for such ground/water vehicles is 100m x 100m. 

I will accept FPV times for the sake of science and should they be much much quicker it will give the pure FPV crowd something to brag about.

An Easystar (yes before HK copied it) made one lap in less than a minute in 2009 so 5 in 5 minutes should be more than possible. 

As ever the time frame is flexible but why don't we all meet back here on August the 1st and find out who won!

Please add your entries and adventures below. Points are always awarded for silliness, just as long as its safe!


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  • Admin

    Hi All,

    Here is a shot of my Traxxas E-Maxx 4WD brushless Crusher Rover:


    This picture was shot while the Crusher had an AMP2.6 as the navigation controller. It now has a Pixhawk navigation controller with dual GPSs. I moved the primary GPS/Compass Module further out front to make room for the Pixhawk and added a secondary GPS to a platform on the back bumper.

    The Crusher is powered by a NEU 1hp brushless motor, a Castle Creation Mamba Monster fan cooled ESC, and two 2S 4000mahr LiPos connected in series for 16.8 vdc. I built the Crusher entirely from new Traxxas piece parts ordered off of eBay. At the time I did not know what a "roller chassis" was.

    At the start of the T3 course it does a small wheelie and then takes off. I had to add a wheelie bar to the back of the chassis or it would flip over at the start.


    Tom C AVD

  • Thank's Thomas

  • Admin


    I think that all you need are the Auto Mode portions of the dataflash logs and maybe a KLM shot.

    I don't know if FPV is required though I do have a GoPro mount on my Crusher that I have used a couple of times.


    Tom C AVD

  • Thank's Thomas; mine are flying things (for the moment); sorry my bad english; I understand that I have to do that Wps as fast as possible and share here the logs and FPV video? that simple? 

  • Admin

    Hi All,

    Here is an aerial shot of my Rover T3 course in the overflow parking lot of the defunct Calder horse racetrack in Miami Gardens, FL.



    Ladies have always been allowed.

    As dr0n3droid has said, the more the merrier.

    Since the Rover T3 got a late start you might pm Gary Mortimer if you want to join the fun and need an extension.


    Tom C AVD

  • Thank's dr, I'n not going to win but only participate for fun if I can prepare something fast in time ;)  

  • Ladies have always been welcome. Join in on the fun.
  • Ladies are allowed now? :)

  • Admin

    Hi healthyfatboy/dr0n3droid,

    Hey guys, we are all in this together and can consider it a learning process for the next T3.

    I will gladly share everything I know to help all of you out.

    I accidentally ran my Crusher rover into the curb at the end of the first turn (I had made the SPEED_TURN_DIST parameter too small. Right now I am using 30m when running at 12m/s which seems to be just right with a SPEED_TURN_GAIN value of 20%), but Traxxas legendary reliability saved the bacon and there was only some minor scuffing of the front bumper.


    I have sent you an email detailing my path forward for early this week to complete the T3 as soon as possible.


    Tom C AVD

  • T3

    Whoops! I forgot to upload the KMZ/KML files. I did find that if you are nice to the mall cop, they'll also let you keep doing your crazy stuff even late at night! The kid that came by seemed really cool with it and just let me keep playing. One more thing, I probably spent a total of 30-40 minutes doing my testing and it still came out well so that's a testament to the code working well. Of course I got my NAVL1_PERIOD tuning backwards and kept lowering it when I should have raised it. Oops! In defense, I was more concerned about making the corners near the curbs than the straights, although given the 11 ms^-1 crash into the pole, maybe I should have taken both into account a little more.

    Good Run

    Hard Crash

    Bye Bye Receiver!

    Dropbox - Link not found
    Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Never email yourself a file again!
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