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Old Oct 17, 2012, 09:36 AM
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UAV Thesis Topic

Hi,

I'm new to these forums. I will be completing my Bachelor's of Mechatronics Engineering and Computer Science next year and I need to select a thesis topic. I am quite interested in aviation, and there is a UAV project at my university but it has only recently begun. The only components designed so far I believe are an embedded controller with some sensors such as an altimeter and barometer. It is similar to ArduPilot but made from scratch using a Texas Instruments board and other components.

I don't want to bite off more than I can chew, so I was thinking of implementing some kind of RF control system (which I have never done before). I plan to use XBee Pro RF modules, one on the UAV connected to the microcontroller and one connected through an XBee Explorer USB adapter to a PC (the "base").

I intend to design a program on the PC that will read in sensor values sent over the XBee modules (eg, altitude sensor, barometer readings, gyroscope readings), as well as potentially control the UAV when the other parts of the system are completed (by other students). If I connect directly to the PC using the USB adapter, does anyone know how I would program it and in what language (serial)? Should I use an Arduino [though I believe the Arduino should not be used for the full project, instead it should be used for prototyping].

Does this seem like a feasible project idea? Are there any other ideas I could potentially do relevant to my degree?
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Old Oct 17, 2012, 02:29 PM
Project Tormentor is flying!
United States, WA, White Salmon
Joined Nov 2005
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Quite a few students and teams have done this for a project. It is not a simple project, on many levels. I suggest you talk to actual UAV operators and learn what are the common setbacks/problems/limitations they come across and see if you can design a solution that addresses as many of them as possible.

UAV's are still a young industry, and as such they are a bit rough around the edges. I believe a project that aims to assist the use of UAVs has merit. I know this is all very vague, but I think if you do some research, you could narrow down onto something you would enjoy undertaking that is feasible and unique.
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Old Oct 18, 2012, 03:34 AM
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Originally Posted by philthyy View Post
Quite a few students and teams have done this for a project. It is not a simple project, on many levels. I suggest you talk to actual UAV operators and learn what are the common setbacks/problems/limitations they come across and see if you can design a solution that addresses as many of them as possible.

UAV's are still a young industry, and as such they are a bit rough around the edges. I believe a project that aims to assist the use of UAVs has merit. I know this is all very vague, but I think if you do some research, you could narrow down onto something you would enjoy undertaking that is feasible and unique.
What complications do you know of that students have encountered doing this?

I don't really know any UAV operators so I thought some would be on here so I don't know who to ask about setbacks/problems/limitations.

Also, what do you mean by a project that aims to assist the use of UAVs?
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Old Oct 18, 2012, 06:50 PM
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There is a full thesis about autopilot develpment to be fond here: http://lib.ugent.be/fulltxt/RUG01/00...10_0001_AC.pdf
(Google translate)
And the current state of the open source firmware: http://code.google.com/p/gluonpilot/...e/#svn%2Ftrunk
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