To the right, the flight plan of my latest UAV flight. I programmed the UAV to fly in a pattern across the local field where I fly. A manual take-off used, then switching to waypoint (auto) mode. The UAV returned to launch nicely, hovering at 15m until manual take over and landing.
I couldn’t properly attach my normal point and shoot for photos or video during the flight so I’m looking into buying a GoPro like camera for this purpose.
Here is a small map of a waypoint mission I flew two days ago. Although giving control to the autopilot does give you some sweaty palms the ardupilot performed wonderfully. I’m rather sad I neglected my work on the UAV so long. Part of it was having limited access to a nice and safe area to fly over. I’m now closer to a tram stop that takes me out of town so flying is more convenient and less of a hassle. More experimenting, especially with flying gridded layouts will follow.
[caption id=”” align=”alignright” width=”350”] arducopter, old config.. updated pictures will follow[/caption]
I got my arducopter up and running the past week. I updated to the latest firmware (3.0.1). Previously I had to fight wires to calibrate the multicopter during the compass calibration dance. But I found out that you can do most of the setup of the arducopter over the XBee telemetry, so I don’t get tangled anymore. Having calibrated my compass properly and compensating for compass drift due to motor and ESC interference (compassmot values down to 5%!) I get really good GPS hold / loiter performance. During rather windy conditions my multicopter wouldn’t drift outside a 2x2m box. During calm wind conditions this was a square meter box at most. Rather impressive performance for a budget quadcopter. Next up, flying some way point missions.
The Nature Communications paper that was recently accepted and on which I contributed can be downloaded from the Nature website! (http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2013/130805/ncomms3269/full/ncomms3269.html). Congrats to all co-authors on pushing this along.
Another paper with Simon Lewis as lead author was also recently published. They used some of the our data to quantify above ground biomass for 260 plots across tropical africa (http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/368/1625/20120295.short).