Initial Imaging

Last weekend we were able to start testing our camera and imaging system. This is largely unchanged from the 2014 UAV Challenge (both hardware and software).

From the GX9 helicopter:
GX9 Image

From the Quadporter:
Quadporter Image

The GX9’s camera worked really well, but the Quadporter needs more work (it’s likely the lens is the culprit).

Progress

Having passed D2, there’s been a huge amount of work going on to make sure we are ready for D3.

On the software front Pete contributed a bunch of work helping to get the plane geofence code into APM:Copter (which we need for the heli).
Tridge has, as always, devoted massive amounts of effort into the APM firmware (and sim/sitl updates to facilitate), with the Heli and QuadPlane branches progressing really well.

Steve has been busy with MavProxy updates and a new module for remote arming and takeoff.

On the hardware front, Greg has meticulously built the GX9 heli (and kept her going), with some great support from Federico.

Grant and Tridge have kept the QuadPlane going, and the second Porter quadplane is a masterpiece in progress (thanks Jack).
Both the GX9 and first Porter have cracked 5 hours autonomous flight now, which is cause for both celebration and a sigh of relief!

The next step is getting the new systems required by the OBC implemented. To help with this we have a little test rig, with a pixraptor and raspberry pi hooked up to a momentary arming switch, emergency stop and indicator lights. Powered from a lipo, this lets us test the entire setup without needing to leave the office!

Arming light and button

PiPixraptor

Helicopter Progress

For our helicopter platform (Gaui GX9), we have recently been adding in the various avionics – camera, radios, flight controller and so on. This also included the time-consuming (but very important) task of routing the cabling.

P1050246

We even put a small camera on the tail boom so have in-flight footage of the helicopter:

Gaui Mobius

We have still got a few final items to add – extra fuel tanks for the long duration flights and better placement of the radio antennas. But we are getting very close to our final platform.

Deliverable 2

After a lot of hard work both on and off the airfield, we have recently submitted our Deliverable 2 report for the 2016 UAV Challenge. It covers the overall system design of our UAV, failsafe system and risk management.

The full report is available here.

The associated video, showing our checklist and autonomous takeoff and landing is below.

CanberraUAV presentation to RAes

Last week CanberraUAV gave a presentation and flight demonstration to the Canberra branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAes).

This covered the history of CanberraUAV in competing in the UAV Outback Challenges in 2012 and 2014, the group’s purpose and past/current R&D activities. This also included an introduction to the world of open-source UAV development by Ardupilot developer (and CanberraUAV member) Andrew Tridgell.

At the end there was a flight demo of a quadplane, showing off it’s autonomous flight modes.

Working Towards D2

Over the past month, we’ve been busy getting our airframes ready for the Deliverable 2 report for the UAV Challenge. This video must include an autonomous takeoff and landing (among other items). Both our helicopter and quadplane platforms have been working quite nicely for this.

As part of this, we’ve been flying out large-scale helicopter test platform (TRex 700), which culminated in a full autonomous flight, shown in the video below.

Conference Talk – Linux.conf.au

Recently, Andrew Tridgell gave a talk at Linux.conf.au covering his work with developing the APM software for helicopter and quadplanes. Much of this is part of CanberraUAV’s development for the 2016 UAV Challenge.

He also talks about rocket planes (the LOHAN project) and a general update of what has been happening in the APM community in the past 12 months.

Quadplane Auto Flight

After many months of development and testing of our quadplane, we have had our first completely autonomous flight!

From this point on, we will start scaling up to larger airframes capable of carrying our payload for the UAV Challenge. This is in addition to the usual software tuning and improvements.