We are just settling down after an intense week of building and testing. 10 days ago we received our airframe of choice for the competition: the Applied Aeronautics Albatross. The intermediate goal was to bring PX4 fixed-wing support one step further by improving support for completely automatic missions from takeoff to landing on a runway.
We signed up our team for the 2016 challenge and submitted our Deliverable 1 document along with 63 other teams (it was around 116 last time).
The race to D2, D3 and Australia in September, 2016 is on! Exciting times!
If you haven’t already done so make sure you “like” our Facebook page to show your support and closely follow our progress over the next year.
We were able to make good use of the last few weeks of good weather. VTOL support in PX4 is becoming more and more stable and supports now the 3 basic types of VTOL UAVs:
- Standard (non-tailsitter, non-tiltrotor)
In addition to manual flight we also successfully tested completely autonomous flights with transitions on a standard VTOL.
Have a look at the videos:
Before we begin with the next adventure, we’d like to conclude the last one. It took a while, but it’s finally done:
We put together a debrief that describes our intense time in Australia before and during the competition, and explains all the components we used in our system. You can read it here: Debrief OBC 2014 Team Swiss Fang
The past few weeks we’ve been intensely testing VTOL integration in PX4 with the BirdsEyeView FireFly6. Autonomous transition is now ready!
The organizers of the UAV Challenge recently announced their next competition: the Medical Express. It’s not about dropping water bottles anymore, instead the UAV has to pick up a blood sample from Joe at a remote location (Joe’s outback residence) and bring it back home. The landing spots will be obstructed, there will be no glide slope for landing/takeoff. Flight distance from home to Joe’s location is between 20km and 30km. The Medical Express therefore introduces quite some interesting challenges: on-board landing spot detection, remote vertical takeoff and landing, flight corridors for traversal, possible loss of LOS.
We’re very keen on participating again, and we’re already preparing the range finders for ground distance detection ;). Stay tuned!
For more information on the Medical Express Challenge, visit http://uavchallenge.org/medical-express/
Because the competition starts in two weeks already, it was time to see if we’re ready and if our system works when it counts. So yesterday, we added a lot of (camera) pressure, and went for the real thing: setup, start, search, drop, land. And all this with the SRF Einstein TV crew filming us.
Swiss Fang received the Go decision!
From the OBC committee:
The Go decisions have been made for the 2014 UAV Challenge Search and Rescue competition. We are please to announce that 20 teams have been given a Go decision and have been invited to Kingaroy. The teams are:
Open UAS (Netherlands)
NCSU Aerial Robotics Club (USA)
Team Condor (Australia)
Monash UAS (Australia)
Perth UAV (Australia)
IRSA Group (Iran)
Compass UAV (Australia)
Swiss Fang (Switzerland)
TinBox UAV 2 (Australia)
Rescue Robotics (Australia)
Team Aetournos (France)
MUROC Wild Hogs (Australia)
Canberra UAV (Australia)
Team Thunder (Australia)
Swiss Fang had a great day at the Kulmer Air Show 2014. We demonstrated the PX4 autopilot and explained what the UAV Outback Challenge is all about.
Thanks to the Modellflugverein Kulm for organizing the show and letting us participate. Special thanks to Daniel Ziegenhagen and Lukas Fischer for their support.
A few impressions:
Last Sunday we reached another milestone accumulating a total of 6.5 hours autonomous flight. With this we met the main requirement of Deliverable #3 for the OBC requiring 5 autonomous hours with at least one flight longer than 30 min.
Following this we moved onto the next phase of testing our “Joe Finder” onboard vision system in the Viper. The initial results were looking quite promising.
The following video shows a compilation of the flights from the day including some sequences created from the onboard downward facing imaging camera.
Walking the Viper back after a successful flight: