For the fifth T3 (Trust Time Trial) contest, we've got an easy and fun one: set the best time for a virtual Sparkfun Autonomous Vehicle Competition course. The real Sparkfun contest will be held on April 17th in Boulder, Colorado, and is simply the fastest time for an autonomous vehicle to do one lap around the company's headquarters (shown above). The DIY Drones team won it last year in a time of 35 seconds, and we (and other DIY Drones community members) will be entering this year, too.

Your mission is to program your UAV to fly a pattern around a rectangle the size of the Sparkfun HQ (dimensions shown above). One lap, fastest time wins. The rules don't say anything about takeoff or landing, so you can cross the start line (shown in the picture) at full speed and it doesn't matter what happens after you cross the finish line. Altitude is up to you, but stay below 400ft, as always, and I'd recommend staying above 100ft to avoid the evil trees!

I expect that competition will come down to fractions of a second. Since most GPS loggers only record a position once per second, you'll need to interpolate between timestamps for both the start and finish time. The way to do this is to draw a line from the pointy bottom tip of two adjacent Google Earth pushpin markers. Estimate how far along that line the start or finish lines cross, and apply that fraction to estimate the real time. This illustration gives an example:

Please show these calculations on your KML path image.

BTW, it would be cool to have a model of the Sparkfun HQ to place in Google Earth so you can display your path around a "real" building. Your Chief T3 Judge, Gary Mortimer, has issued a call for a volunteer to make that model, so when one of you rises to the challenge I'll post it here for all to use.

Same submission rules as always. Submit time, autopilot and airframe, and KML track (both screenshot image and raw data) as evidence in the comments below. Video very much appreciated but not required.

Deadline Wed, March 14th, 12:00 midnight PST.

Gentlemen, start your engines!

Views: 1334

Comment by Graham Dyer on February 11, 2010 at 4:38am
I built a model of the sparkfun building in sketchup but haven't received any answers to my questions here:

Comment by Brian Wolfe on February 16, 2010 at 12:23am
We'll, I had some time today so I decided to get the ball rolling on this months challenge. This is my first attempt with nothing special being done, just wanted to see where things stood. I'm sure the time can be improved upon considerably.

Here is the T3_5Run1.kmlkml file.

Time: 25.718 sec.
Average Speed: 15.8 m/S

The video is unedited and shows my bad throw and some pitch instability in part due to a trim problem. I still need to add some gain scheduling based on speed as well to help that out.

Link to Video->


Comment by Brian Wolfe on February 16, 2010 at 12:27am
Uh, link to video->

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on February 16, 2010 at 12:32am
Thanks for getting the ball rolling! Okay folks, 25.7 seconds is now the time to beat.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on February 16, 2010 at 12:33am
Oh, and Brian, please give the autopilot and airframe used.

Comment by Brian Wolfe on February 16, 2010 at 12:37am
Autopilot: PICPilot
Airframe: AXN Floater


Comment by Gary Mortimer on February 16, 2010 at 1:05am
Well done Brian your way ahead in the lead at the minute, and a cool 10 seconds ahead of last years winners ;-)

Graham I'm sorry I did'nt see the post, Chris do you have any pictures of the building??

I have just Pm'd Doug I think he was going to take some pictures.



Comment by Gary Mortimer on February 23, 2010 at 11:29am
Er is this round the first one to be a complete failure or is the weather really rubbish up top or is everybody holding .... were my judging decisions so bad last time???

Comment by Pete Hollands on February 23, 2010 at 11:36am
Weather is bad in the UK. (and problems with radio interference in my plane).

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on February 23, 2010 at 11:38am
Weather's bad here. And we've been head down on 2.5. Now that's out, I should have an entry in the next week or two.


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