3D Robotics

Update and guidance on ArduPilot Mega

We've wanted to be transparent with the community on our plans for ArduPilot Mega to get feedback, but I fear we've also introduced uncertainty and confusion. Here are some tips and pointers that may help you plan your ArduPilot path. First, don't expect ArduPilot Mega until well into the new year. Second, it will be considerably more expensive than ArduPilot. Third, it won't necessarily work any better than the current ArduPilot for basic autopilot functions--it's just for people who want two-way telemetry and a more compact installation. Fourth, we'll continue to support the current ArduPilot. These are two different products, for two different customer classes. We'll also be releasing a product that's for a lower end of the market, an even simpler, cheaper autopilot for inherently stable aircraft (this is a turn-rate limiter autopilot that will outperform the PicoPilot at less than 1/4 the cost). Also Q1. So think of ArduPilot as a family of products: Entry, General and Pro. ArduIMU is not part of the ArduPilot line. It's for people who want to integrate an IMU/AHRS into their own project.The IMU in ArduPilot Mega will be custom for that product. Unless you're really trying to save money, I suggest most people start with the current ArduPilot. It's mature, stable and will be supported as long as we can see. ArduPilot Mega will someday get there, but unless you're willing to deal with our teething pains for the next year, you'll be a lot happier with the current product.
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  • ok Thanks Chris, I guess I will have to wait for mega to come out. Good luck , wish I could do more than standing by and watching.
  • 3D Robotics
    Moril, we're designing everything from scratch. But note Jason's comment about the virtues of thermopiles. For the next 12 months, or so, while we work through the bugs, I suspect mostly people will be happier with the thermopile-based autopilot. IMUs sound easy but are a bear to get working reliably. Don't underestimate the advantages of absolute horizon reference systems!
  • Developer
    I'm mostly interested in 2-way comm which this will provide and a setup that will read all seven channels of my radio. I'm afraid that might be tough without the PPM data from my radio. The PWM data can overlap the 6th and 7th channel. If I read in loops at 25hz I should be able to do it. Until then I can just add a ardiuno mini for 2 way for now.
  • DIYD has a nice failsafe as well...

    Believe it or not, I've been holding back my questions on this topic since I know Jordi and Chris are working hard on it. I'm really struggling with which direction to go with respect to hardware, but I have a very strong desire to go with Arduino Mega + Failsafe/MUX + GPS and get the basic ArduPilot running. Then, I'd really like to use ArduIMU and the built-in DCM to output the serial information to the ArduPilot code on the Mega, but convert the angles to the corresponding analog variables (that are expected to be IR) in software without messing with an intermediate D/A conversion. It just seems that Arduino Mega gives me the most flexibility for developing this direction, as well as working on the ground station project (requiring a second Mega), and associated 2-way communication to help tuning happen faster. I know some of you are shaking your heads - this guy is crazy, but there have to be others thinking along the same path I just outlined, right?
  • Hi Jason, i mean no disrespect towards IR sensor,I also seen how well these work for so many AP enthusiasts. just that it won't be good choice for me as I live in area not suitable for IR stabilization, and if i can't fly with it then I can't have fun .:) Asking for both IR and IMU will be too much.
  • Developer
    I wouldn't knock the IR sensors and a simple Ardupilot board. With all of this IMU hype going around, it's easy to forget how good they actually work.
  • Hi Chris,
    pardon my enthusiasm and eagerness.I too was thinking in the same like as Andy, am quite eager to jump in the bandwagon being tired of standing on sidelines and watching you guys having all the fun :) , however I wasn't quite sure that I like FMA like sensor based stabilization, i am more inclined towards IMU. So my question is/ will the ardu team design whole Mega based AP from scratch or use this board and this breakout board. Will you be using this board and all the additional components in additional board or will you be just using mega chip on custom board? i hope there is possibility of integrating ultrasonic sensors of low altitude sensing( <6 m for landing estimation) also or atleast to get those reading on GS screen somewhere( would love to do FPV landing :)).
    In anticipation of my OWN AP some day soon, i went and bought Aerocomm AC4790LR-1000 already and tested it using regular terminal programs, works fine , haven't done long distance test yet.
    In addition I am very impressed with Millswood failsafe , Do you think this device has place in ardumega based AP? or such function will be or atleast is in pipeline for mega AP. Thanks for your valuable input
  • 3D Robotics
    The ArduPilot code will run on any Arduino, including the Mega. Of course it won't do anything useful if you don't have all the right inputs, from GPS to RC to sensors, and you'll have to find your own way to connect them, but technically it's possible.
  • Ah - I was just going to add that - the MUX/failsafe. Other than that (and the tangle of wires), is there anything technically wrong with the concept? I understand it is not the best path, but I'd like to stick with Arduino, otherwise I'd be more inclined to try the UAVDevBoard.
  • 3D Robotics
    Andy, I wouldn't recommend that. You don't have the MUX/failsafe chip, and much depends on that. I think at best you're looking at a tangle of wires on a breadboard, and at worst you're reinventing the wheel. If you want an open-source IMU-based board now, get the UAVDevBoard.
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