UAV Challenge Diary (Day -1)

By | September 26, 2016

A very busy and exhausting day for us!

This morning we split into 3 groups – one running final setup and test on our GX9 helis, another doing the same for our quadplanes. The third team travelled around likely areas we’ll be flying in the UAV Challenge, checking 3G/4G coverage and confirming our our terrain dataset heights.

Interestingly, Optus coverage is far better than Telstra’s out in the flight area.

Unfortunately, our backup quadplane had a heavy landing during a practice flight. It wasn’t heavily damaged, but is unable to be repaired to a flyable state until we get back to Canberra.

After lunch, we spent some time running some simulated flights – checking our ground station network and comms, as well as our preflight procedures.

We ran into difficulties with the ground station network box. The Raspberry Pi running the Telstra 4G dongle kept browning out and crashing. It took ~5 hours until we had a working solution of using a borrowed USB power bank to power the Pi. We still don’t completely understand why the Telstra dongle was drawing large enough amounts of power to produce a ~0.7V drop in power to the Pi. But we found a solution, which given the time pressures is good enough.

Early night for us. And an early start of 7:30am tomorrow.