With just 1 week until we start traveling to Dalby for the UAV Challenge, the last couple of weeks have been spent performing final tests and fixes to our equipment. This has included all-up tests that simulate an actual UAV Challenge scenario, finalising our checklists and mission plans, and sorting out travel to Dalby.
Our all-up test from the perspective of Joe – watching the UAV land at the remote location. The blood sample is then loaded onto the UAV:
Over the next 5 weeks we will focus on finishing off our ground station and practicing the team roles in simulated UAV Challenge scenarios. This will include testing the ground station network, laptops and software; in addition to safely recovering from in-flight emergencies and issues – such as communications links outages.
Now that we’ve submitted our Deliverable 3 report, we are able to get back to doing to final fit-out of our airframes and performing all-up testing of both UAV’s and the ground station. Below are a few photos of our current airframes ready to go.
Last weekend we had the maiden flight of our 2nd (yellow) Quadplane. It went very smoothly, with a small amount of minor issues to be fixed up. The next job is to finish fitting out the radio and electronics systems.
The plans now is to have the yellow Quadplane as one of our competition airframes, with the red-and-white airframe as a backup.
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!
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.
We even put a small camera on the tail boom so have in-flight footage of the helicopter:
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.
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.