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Plasma-actuated UAV - Testing new Arduplane Autopilot telemetry link

August 10, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Lorenzo, Heather and I headed to Lake Lagunita this week to test the new Arduplane board's telemetry link on a traditional foam glider. I am interested in using the new Arduplane for fully autonomous testing and data acquisition on the plasma UAV. Up until now, I have used an iPhone 3GS and 4 for recording rolling moments induced by the plasma actuators in-flight and analyzed the data later on the ground to back out the change in lift coefficient per unit span of plasma actuator knowing the moments of inertia of the Predator Plasma UAV and Ventus Plasma UAV. The Arduplane board has many advantages over this, least of which is my mother's phone call interrupting my data collection mid-flight:

Hardware includes the following:

  • 3-axis gyros (50Hz)
  • 3-axis accelerometers (50Hz)
  • Barometric pressure sensor for altitude
  • 10Hz GPS module
  • Voltage sensors for battery status
  • 4Mb of onboard data logging memory (enough for hours of data logging).
  • Built-in hardware failsafe processor, can return-to-launch on radio loss.
  • 3-axis magnetometer
  • Airspeed sensor (pitot tubes)

Check out the software too:

http://code.google.com/p/ardupilot-mega/

Below are some data and video from our telemetry tests. Range and Tx/Rx rates are excellent (at least 1000 meters and 100kbps respectively). The pitot tubes gave us trouble so we do not have any data from them yet.

IMG_1391

Non plasma-actuated glider with Arduplane board (antenna visible on top of fuselage) - first flight. That landing was actually quite soft. I just like cringing.

Telemetry and flight paths of subsequent flights:

Nozoom

Flight path over Lake Lagunita (Google Earth imagery)

Zoom

Altitude

Altitude (meters) vs. time index

RollPitchYaw

 

Roll, pitch and yaw vs. time index

 

VxVyVz

Vx, Vy and Vz versus time index

 

A longer flight:

TopView-2

RollPitchYaw-2

VxVyVz-2 RollPitchYawSpeeds-3 Altitude-2


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