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Flobo - an autonomous flying robot

Note: These pages are currently under revision. The project itself was abandoned due to problems with the self constructed model airplane. However, the statements made about requirements, navigation and simulation remain valid. Components, sensors and onboard computer are re-used in other projects. For information about the latest development see EasyBot.

1 Introduction

Flobo stands for Flying Robot and is a project to develop an autonomous model airplane (UAV, Aerial Robot). The following pages represent the ideas and concepts for the development of such an airplane and document the progress of development.

Since 1996 I concern myself with GPS and its application possibilities. I bought the "Motorola Oncore GT" GPS board in 1997 and experimented with it. Since flying model airplanes is another hobby, the idea developed to use GPS as navigational instrument for an autonomous model airplane. Back in this time I followed reports on the Aerial Robotics Competition carried out by teams of several universities.

In the meantime a lot has changed. There are now vendors of complete autopilot systems and autonomous airplanes applies meanwhile also outside the military, for example in the monitoring of motorways. Thus, Flobo will not be the first project of this kind, but to my knowledge there are currently only handful similar projects in Germany.

Contents:

1 Introduction
2 Requirements
  2.1 Values to be measured
  2.2 System Overview
  2.3 Sensor Requirements
  2.4 Requirements to the controlling components
    2.4.1 Servo Driver
    2.4.2 Controller
  2.5 Flight Plan
3 Navigation
  3.1 Reference Systems
  3.2 Fundamental Terms
    3.2.1 Position
    3.2.2 Attitude
  3.3 2D Maneuvers
    3.3.1 Heading for a given point
    3.3.2 Heading for a point from a given direction
  3.4 Notes
    3.4.1 Accuracy
    3.4.2 Prospects
4 Simulation
  4.1 Connecting to FlightGear
  4.2 Flight Path Visualization
5 Hardware
  5.1 Airplane
  5.2 Controller
  5.3 GPS
  5.4 IMU
  5.5 Sonar
  5.6 More Sensors
  5.7 Adapter Board
6 Links
08.02.2009, Achim Walther, Mail
Chapter 2