3D Robotics

T3-Round 8: The egg-drop round!


Inspired by the Outback Challenge's waterbottle drop challenge, we're happy to now announce the start of the 8th round of the T3 Competition.

Your mission this time: have your UAV autonomously drop an egg as close to your home/launch position as possible (heads up!).

(Note: Our contest judge, Gary Mortimer, reminds us that it is illegal to drop any solid object out of an airborne vehicle in some countries, including the UK, so please check your local regulations to determine if this is legal in your area.)

How you have your UAV carry the egg and what mechanism you use to drop it is up to you (maybe a good time to use the built-in relay on your new ArduPilot Mega board?). The only requirement is that the drop be AUTONOMOUS--you need to set your autopilot to initiate the release when it detects that it's the right distance from the home location. The aircraft must be in forward motion with a speed of at least 15mph at the time of drop, and at least 50ft high (ie, no unfair advantage for quads!)

Because this first "T" in T3 stands for "trust", we're going to trust you to mark your home position and measure the distance the egg landed from that--no need to strap a GPS logger to the egg. The path your UAV takes before and after the drop doesn't matter, as long as it was under autonomous control during the drop part of the run. You will get EXTRA POINTS for an unbroken egg. How you achieve that (parachute, whatever) is up to to you, but please document your method with pictures.

Please submit the following in the comments as your entry: KML track of your UAV, with drop point, egg impact point, and "home" marked. Distance measured and reported, along with autopilot type. Please include a picture of your egg after it's landed, broken or not.

Scoring will be as follows: competitors will be ranked in closeness of egg to home. You get a 10m bonus for an unbroken egg.

Deadline: about six week from now--Sunday, September 5th at 12:00 midnight PST.

Have fun!

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  • T3
    I am surprised to see less than 5-10m error, because the GPS, wind, plus navigational precision.
    Maybe because the test was GPS vs GPS reference.
    The drop is absurdally precise, you have been awarded Egg Terrorist First Class Air Medal.

    A few ultra curious questions.
    How many tries?
    Is the drop location is calculated in realtime?
    As well as wind estimation?
  • T3
    Wow! That's awesome Mark! You'd tend to think that even the GPS's relative error would be more than 1 meter between takeoff and the drop. But great job all the same!
  • Moderator
    Mark, that was awesome!!! Great job!
  • Admin
    Drop the cake then :)
  • Congrats with that entry Mark! It will truely be hard to beat. But beware, I have just phurcased a whole box of eggs, and my EasyUAV just have to be released from customs (after a firmware upgrade), before I will be able to make an entry. (That is, if the wife doesn't first bake a kake from the eggs offcource).
  • Admin
    If you can show them drop( video) , then try it :)
  • Could people use quail eggs?
  • T3
    Here is my successful entry to the competition.

    The aircraft I used was an Multiplex Funjet with the Paparazzi autopilot guiding the aircraft autonomously and calculating the drop location. The algorithm took into account egg weight, windspeed, wind direction, groundspeed, height from ground, and drag. I constructed a servo-actuated release mechanism inside the Funjet for the egg drop.

    The field location was near Givrins, Switzerland. The weather was hot and sunny with some wind.

    I acheieved a good result; The unprotected egg landed approx 1 metre from the Home position and smashed spectacularly.

    The video gives the best idea of what exactly happened. http://vimeo.com/14030111

    At release, the airspeed was 20 m/s (72 km/h) and the height above ground was 54 metres.

    The kmz file showing the Home, release and egg land positions is here.
    This whole exercise was a whole lot of fun!!!!!

    Cheers, Mark
  • T3
    I have dusted-off my Funjet and installed a servo-actuated release mechanism.

    I have also prepared a flight plan which will combine some of the elements of the last T3 competition. It will command the Funjet to do the following:
    - autonomous takeoff from Home;
    - autonomous egg drop on the Home position; and
    - autonomous landing on the Home position.

    I just need the weather to improve....
  • 3D Robotics
    @Jason. Excellent! I've added that to the manual.
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