What a busy day on the UAV Challenge. Scrutineering was our main event yesterday. It came in three parts; technical scrutineering, a live motors running test of the geofence and a team interview by the judges. All three seemed to go well; at least we haven’t been told otherwise! The GeoFence test involves physically pushing the OctoPorter across an imaginary line while all 9 propellers are spinning; it really is a sight to behold!
We had a real shock when we received the mission file. There are 22 static ‘no fly zones’ in the operating area, which will be accompanied by an as yet to be determined number of simulated live air tracks. We tested the live feed from the organisers yesterday, which simulates tracks generated by an air traffic control radar; that seems to work well and Andrew Tridgell has been helping out the other teams by getting some relevant patches to Mission Planner sorted. James has also been helping another team to get their PX4 flight controller based system up to speed for the mission, whilst others have helped out in a number of areas.
When you take into account the relatively small operating area, the likelihood of significant winds, 22 static no-fly zones and an unknown number of air tracks that we will need to autonomously avoid, this mission is going to be a really processing heavy challenge for our Pixhawk Flight Controller.
Oh, and Outback Joe seems to have changed out of his white t-shirt and high vis jacket into a fetching red shirt with blue jeans. He might regret that costume choice if our imaging software thinks he is our red / blue target!
Hopefully we’ll get to fly Wednesday afternoon, so fingers crossed!