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[vox] Ardupilot, UAVs, and linux.
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[vox] Ardupilot, UAVs, and linux.

I've been watching UAVs and they have come quite far in the last year or
two.  Seems like Linux is often used for route planning, software devel,
and related features, but not usually actually running on the UAV.

ARDrone is the exception to the rule.

The first generation units use 8 bit CPUs that basically use table
lookups to help control the copter/plane.  The result is something that
can navigate well but aren't particularly agile (without a human at the

The current entry level setup is pretty cheap, just buy a $50-$75 RC
plane, buy a $199 board to enable GPS, 3D way points, and unmanned flight.

Details at:

Linux compatible software for ground control of UAVs:

However most projects are moving to 32 bit Cortex M3 and M4 CPUs, some
even with floating point.  This seems to be enabling dramatically more
agile UAVs.  The additional CPU allows implementing the needed physics
based controls more directly, more sophisticated path finding, and even
obstacle avoidance.

Ardupilot/Copter are targeting the new Cortex M4F (with floating point)
with a port of their current software, but thats likely a ways off.

Here's another project that looks pretty good (cortex M3).

$100 quad kickstarter:

They claim to deliver in December or so.  They have a video of the quad
rotor taking off with a 2.7KG brick.

Many cool projects out there, like this aerial mapping and GIS platform:

M4 based quad copter:

Short clip showing the stability:

Arm Cortex M3 project:

Vision based autonomous mapping:

A Cortex M4F autopilot:

Anyone doing anything with UAVs?

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