UAV Challenge Diary (Day -2)

By | September 25, 2016

After a long day of driving, we made it to Dalby in the late afternoon.

Darrell, Paul, Felix, Greg, Matt and myself went straight to the motel to sort out rooms and grab some supplies for breakfast, whilst everyone else was the the Dalby Model Aircraft Club (DMAC) surveying the facilities until dark. It was very windy at DMAC – hopefully not a sign a things to come. The team spent their time there planning the takeoff and landing sequences, given the wind and locations of nearby buildings and the DMAC runway.

We met up with the UNSW (Canberra) team along the way to Dalby and they joined our convoy for part of the way (until a navigation error took them down a different road for a few hours).

We had a few minor navigation issues of our own, which reinforced the lesson of communicating well within the team – with 13 people, we do have to take care to ensure everyone is aware of the current and near-future plans.

Tomorrow’s plan is to test all the things! Primarily check all our equipment still works, tune the IC engines (we’re at a different altitude than Canberra – this affects the engine tuning), check 3G/4G coverage for our comms system and run through many more SITL testing.

Final Testing

By | September 18, 2016

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:

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We have also been finalising our backup UAV’s (1x quadplane and 1x helicopter) and stocking up on spare parts and consumables we’ll need for our time at the UAV Challenge.

5 weeks to go

By | August 22, 2016

Now that the Deliverable 3 results have been sent out (, CanberraUAV are happy to announce that we have passed the Deliverable 3 point and are one of the 8-11 finalists in the 2016 UAV Challenge.

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.

Coming Together

By | August 16, 2016

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.



2 Quadplanes

By | August 4, 2016

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.

2 Quadplanes

The plans now is to have the yellow Quadplane as one of our competition airframes, with the red-and-white airframe as a backup.

Initial Imaging

By | July 4, 2016

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).


By | June 26, 2016

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