MicroPilot 21283X

How long before this becomes a standard required by authorities??


The MP21283X, MicroPilot’s triple-redundancy (3X) autopilot, is now available. Although 3X technology is established within the aviation industry, 3X autopilots are a new addition to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The MP21283x contains three robust autopilots to overcome a multitude of hardware failures. If any one of the three autopilots should fail, the remaining two take over. An additional mechanism oversees these three systems.

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  • Not sure about redundant microcontrollers, but redundant GPS is the next big need.  That is the biggest problem.  You don't know your electronics are interfering until it's too late.

  • T3
    Gary I have flown many times with ublox sirf and locosys at once. No reason to have them all and REALLY top problem with UAVs is misconfiguration or situation misjudgment by the user therefore we have opted for a single GPS in Pteryx..
  • T3

    "looks pretty fragile"

    The board has 10 screws at least for tightening it to moutn points.

    About failsafe system: if we put 1 system in serial and 3 (previously untrusted) in parallel,

    we can minimize the chance of failure only if the supervisor is much more reliable tested and mature than any of the elements it parallelizes.

    This can be done if the supervisor is dead simple.

    The problem is they made 'suprisingly advanced' supervisor that is maybe 100 times less popular than the autopilots. And here are the problems. If the double power would be inherent part of micropilot etc parallelizing would make sense. But if the supervisor board is assuring the mission synchronization and all the things PLUS power, then we see a picture, that the board is fixing all the parallelization-related deficiencies that hasn't been considered at the time of basic autopilot design. It is giving only partial boost in security, for a high creation effort, room and price.

  • A note about customer base, this kind of product wouldn't really target a hobbyist. Check out Micropilot's Clients page for examples.
  • Moderator

    I don't think we will see many sub 1k public UAS in the USA.

    You can expect standalone failsafes like the


    I thought two different makes of GPS was a good idea, I have asked Dean about it loads of times!




  • hmm now let me look at this $6K for 1 board?

    lets see I dont think the average drone exceeds $1K yet alone this board is huge

    maybe for a 6 million dolar preditor

    so what hapens if the "oversee'er" hardware fails? then plop a dead chunk of $6K parts

    and is this board crash proof? looks pretty fragile

  • T3

    "Reliable autopilots are a good thing, be it for missile guidance or your 50cc powered mega model."

    This is why most commercial applications make sense when you fly AWAY from build up areas. Mining, precision agriculture, road constructions, mapping of sparsely populated areas.

  • I made components for standoff missile systems for 15 years. This level of redundancy is not uncommon in munitions that fly 200 miles to target with 500 to1000 lb warheads. You don't want it coming down on the good guys.


    What would happen if your "Model" UAV came down in a day care playground and injured a little kid? The lawyers would be lining up to sue you for all you have.


    Reliable autopilots are a good thing, be it for missile guidance or your 50cc powered mega model. 

  • Triple redundancy sounds great but really what does that mean in this case when the systems are all on one motherboard potentailly sharing one power source and the multiple GPS receivers are colocated. On the Reaper, for example, they have many GPS receivers (??) , but from what I understand, they are placed in separate sections of the aircraft- for a reason- they can be isolated form one another electronically and magnetically and have slightly diffenrent perspectives of the same sky relative to the aircraft.I imagine comms to the ground and satellites are redundant aswell. A good analogy, and applicable redunancy for our DIY dornes community , is to examine any modern R/C RX. Firstly they are either  adaptive and/or FHSS, so there are channel options to ease with interference- dont forget the 72 Mhz radios- you wouldnt want someone ignoring your channel flag and firing up their system while you're in the air.Secondly with multiple antennas such as Spektrum, which offers up to four at any time- there is signal redundancy but they only work if they are separated and installed at diff orientations. Ideally, the receiver would have redundant, isolated power supplies . In the extreme you would have two independent receivers. All of this is common place within the scale R/C community, so why all the gripe here for UAVs??If you are serious about your UAV (enough money invested) and its large enough to accommodate the added weight/volume, id seriously consider redundancy on COMMS, GPS and POWER.For large models, back up servos arent a bad thing. I suppose on some aircraft (dihedral trainers), for example, it could be possible to account for losses in airlerons by dialing up the response of the rudder.
  • @jared obviously this board is pointed at people making more sophisticated platforms for commercial and government use.  the same kind of system that will probably also require a transponder as well as some type of see/avoid system.  in other words, something where you need to file a flight plan and/or  would rather not have it land in the middle of the bad guys after a system failure.  i am not sure how they are handling redundancy on the electro-mechanical side - like servos - but there are probably redundant systems and/or large safety factors in design anyplace where a single point of failure could cause the airframe to stop flying.  triple redundancy is typical in avionics systems that are placed in-line between the person who wiggles the sticks and the control surfaces being wiggled i.e. fly-by-wire.  and we are also now replacing the person wiggling the sticks, so who knows...


    all that said, i do not think the DIY crowd is too many months away from being able to have redundant systems at the same size/cost as the single systems we have today.

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