The Kodel, an RC airplane autopilot for aerial photography

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My efforts to build an autopilot for RC airplanes based upon a gps module, IR sensors and a microcontroller.

Presented at Barcamp Antwerp on March 21 2009.

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The Kodel, an RC airplane autopilot for aerial photography

  1. My DIY RC autopilot
  2. First try on aerial photography
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  11. <ul><li>Conclusion: </li></ul><ul><li>it’s difficult </li></ul><ul><li>without an </li></ul><ul><li>Autopilot </li></ul><ul><li>to hold it steady </li></ul><ul><li>to aim the camera </li></ul>
  12. Autopilot design goals <ul><li>User selects object on Google Maps </li></ul><ul><li>Plane flies to location and starts circling </li></ul><ul><li>Camera takes pictures always pointed to target </li></ul><ul><li>Pictures can be “glued together” in viewer </li></ul><ul><li>(Not: ortho pictures to add on google maps) </li></ul><ul><li>Goal: easy photography of buildings / landscapes </li></ul>
  13. PRINCIPLES
  14. Forces on an airplane Thrust: Controls heigth Elevator: Controls speed Rudder: Controls direction Ailerons: Control roll
  15. What is a servo, how does it work ?
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  17. Pitch / roll sensing IR sensors (thermophiles)
  18. <ul><li>GPS navigation </li></ul><ul><li>Yaw/height: </li></ul><ul><li>calculated </li></ul><ul><li>Waypoints: </li></ul><ul><li>straight </li></ul><ul><li>circular </li></ul><ul><li>Failsafe </li></ul>$gprmc,114019.489,A,5048.9524,N,00511.8268,E,0.00,130.10,190907,,,A*60 $gpgga,114019.489,5048.9524,N,00511.8268,E,1,08,01.4,57.9,M,45.6,M,,*52 gga = time,latitude,ns,longitude,ew,posfix,sats,precision,altitude latitude=xxx.zzzz to xxxxx.zzzz (degrees*100+minutes=deel voor komma) longitude=xxx.zzzz to xxxxx.zzzz (degrees*100+minutes=deel voor komma)
  19. Microcontroller: a computer on a chip (but no OS) RAM + FLASH EPROM Timers Interrupts I/O ports (digital) Analog ports Serial interface (usb, bluetooth) Bus (I2C, SPI, CAN)
  20. HARDWARE COMPONENTS
  21. KISS : just plug board between servo’s and receiver (dsPIC30F4012 from Microchip)
  22. Paper adhesive tape provides intended point of failure upon impact (crash tested)
  23. Only 3 things to connect and install IR sensor Autopilot CPU GPS module
  24. CODE SAMPLES
  25. Input pulse collection: Interrupt on change
  26. Output pulse generation: Interrupt on timer
  27. Flight logic: Continious loop
  28. Calculation of stabilisation: Use of floating point Watch out for the math Error TRAP (code stops)
  29. TOOLS
  30. PIC Programmer: Velleman K8048 (15€)
  31. Programmer software: Freeware WIN PIC
  32. IDE: free MPLAB available from Microchip
  33. Alternative microcontrollers <ul><li>Good: </li></ul><ul><li>AVR: very powerfull, more expensive/compex </li></ul><ul><li>Arduino: pre-integrated, less effort </li></ul><ul><li>Ti </li></ul><ul><li>Bad: </li></ul><ul><li>BASIC stamp: ripoff with lousy programming </li></ul><ul><li>LEGO Mindstorms: expensive plastic </li></ul><ul><li>PIC16, PIC18: voorbijgestreefd </li></ul><ul><li>I stick with dsPIC since the learning curve was not too steep </li></ul>
  34. OTHER AUTOPILOTS
  35. Tompycke.be : a Belgian, 10x better then I am at this stuff
  36. Paparazzi: Very comprehensive, open source, starts to get a bit long in the tooth
  37. Attopilot: The best, very recent effort by a dedicated ex-intel engineer
  38. ArduPilot: Arduino based and open source, recent but very basic SW, From Chris “The Long Tail” Anderson (& others)
  39. Let’s go fly!

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