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Old May 16, 2011, 01:23 AM
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This is a very worthwhile course of discussion. The hazard and risk perception, the reality, and the response by researchers, developers, industry and regulators, is becoming the major point of interest in UAV work imho.
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Old May 16, 2011, 01:35 AM
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I really don't mean to bad-mouth this event in any way. It's fantastic that such an event exists and I applaud everyone who works hard to sponsor and host this event as well as the competitors. It's all great.

My involvement has been from the GCS side of things. I'm trying to figure out what I need to add to make my GCS capable of controlling a UAV in the Outback Challenge. In the past, it's been the heartbeat signal from the ground to the plane that has been the "oddity" I guess. For most, not flying at the Outback Challenge, the plane doesn't care if the GCS exists. If it goes away...big deal. So this was something simple enough to add. I do plan on adding the ability to specify boundaries as a visual indicator that you're out of bounds, but it sounds like I don't need to tell the UAV it's out of bounds, the UAV needs to know on it's own.

Since I don't write any of the software on the auto pilot itself I can't say how easy or difficult that task will be. What I do think will happen is it will narrow the field further and eliminate more competitors. I'm assuming this is not the hopes of those putting this event together.

Then the failsafe board must take over if the main auto pilot stops responding which means both boards have to handle servo outputs. I'm not sure how that gets handled either, but again, narrowing the field (I'm assuming). As more and more layers of complexity get piled on, there will be fewer and fewer teams that can meet all these criteria. Again, I'm under the assumption that very, very few teams actually get the green light to compete...because they are eliminated for not meeting the strict guidelines.

What I wonder is if the guy stranded in the Outback really cares about the redundancy built in to the UAV...or how well it's limited in it's search area.... or maybe he's more focused on survival and being found....and how much more he'd like 50 planes trying to find him than 3.....
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Old May 16, 2011, 01:56 AM
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To my knowledge, and I will stand happily corrected, there have been only 4 completely successful (aircraft made the task and returned properly) UAV missions during the history of the OBC.

Including demonstration flights from Insitu (ScanEagle), QUT/ARCAA (Flamingo and Boomerang) and last year's North Dakota team. Of these, I believe only the Dakota team would have been required to adhere to the termination etc rules.

It is difficult to assign causes to the various other crashes, and non-starters, but would it make an interesting read if those were compiled.
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Old May 16, 2011, 02:42 AM
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Quote:
This is a very worthwhile course of discussion. The hazard and risk perception, the reality, and the response by researchers, developers, industry and regulators, is becoming the major point of interest in UAV work imho.
A good discussion topic, but not on to be held OBC thread (I'm sure Mick will start removing posts when he gets back). This thread is specifically for questions (mainly by teams aspiring to compete) relating to the OBC, not the past few pages of personal opinion and unjustified intrepetations of the rules, personal views about the organisers and regulation that is overseeing the operation of UAS in Australia.

Quote:
Including demonstration flights from Insitu (ScanEagle), QUT/ARCAA (Flamingo and Boomerang) and last year's North Dakota team. Of these, I believe only the Dakota team would have been required to adhere to the termination etc rules.
All flights that occurred at the OBC - scaneagle, ARCAA etc - had to adhere and comply to the OBC rules and went through scrutineering, regardless of the purpose of the flight, demonstration or not. The competitions area including the airport is under a NOTAMS for the event, and in addition to this, the airport has dedicated ATC for the competition duration.

Please get discussion back on track.
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Old May 16, 2011, 09:13 AM
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I can't see how a discussion about the rules is off track. That seems to be right on track.
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Old May 18, 2011, 08:18 AM
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.
Planes begin at 2 mins; look for Robota at 5:17


SparkFun AVC 2011 Recap (6 min 40 sec)



A slightly different format to Kingaroy you might say...

.
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Old May 18, 2011, 09:50 AM
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Indeed....crashing into strollers is worth bonus points!
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Old May 18, 2011, 03:06 PM
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All I wanted to ask is the REVISION of existing rules, either positive or negative, not just iterative adding of extra points. The rules are so complex that IMHO they rule out maybe a half of commercial micro autopilots and most popular open source ones. If you say you can modify open source - fantastic, but I expect then that the number scrunteering flights will reflect the ambition of having really complex failsafe rules.
I would prefer guidelines, probabilities and more open specification etc instead of dictating the fail-safe logic. I can adhere easily, but knowing the amount of work I spent on it, I feel this is unfair to force the others to implement all those algorithms with their sequencing because I see they are far from the most intuitive to implement and test, among dozens of existing possibilities.
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Old May 19, 2011, 07:06 AM
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Hey,

Only 1 Year and 134 Days to go!
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Old May 20, 2011, 04:16 AM
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Mick has asked me to moderate the thread until he is able to return. As he has a brand new baby and work committments are keeping him from being active here at the moment.

I sit on the technical committee along with Mick and the other members. I'll endevour to answer some of the questions asked by people hoping to compete in this years 2011 aerial drop challenge, and the 2011/2012 S&R/Aerial drop - OBC challenge @ Kingaroy.

I'll also review some of the posts and remove the off-topic/inflamatory etc ones, in the next couple of days.

I am also aware the S&R rules link is incorrect on the website, that is being addressed asap.

In response to some of the questions asked:

Quote:
Can you confirm that the open S&R challenge is indeed on this year? It was previously announced that it wasn't on till next year, but the new 2011 site lists it as being on 1st to 4th October 2011. Is that a typo, or is it really on this year?

hmm, I suspect its a typo, as the detailed rules list the date as 1-4 Oct 2012, although the registration closes in July 2011, and the first deliverable is 27 July 2011.

Maybe you could fix the website to avoid confusion?
The S&R competition event is being held in 2012. Deliverables 1,2&3 are due in steps through 2011 to 2012. I'll note the website error and bring it to attention at our next tech. committee meeting to get corrected. As you are aware, the website requires more hampster food to make the wheel spin faster...

Quote:
Section 5.15 says "either ..... and". Can you clarify if both situational awareness methods are needed? We will probably have both anyway, but it would be good to know if both are required in the rules.
For the NMEA serial link, what type of serial connector do you want, and what baud rate? Would a reconstructed NMEA stream from another GPS format transmitted to the GCS be OK? We will probably be transmitting GPS from our plane to the ground station using MAVLink, which contains all the information needed to construct a NMEA stream, but we would need to construct that stream on the ground, rather than having it come directly from the plane.

Yes, both are needed. Graphical display with waypoint and aircraft current location is mandatory. In 2012 we will also require a NMEA feed provided by teams so we can utilise this information for external purposes at the competition. I'm not sure what format we will require the hardware connection as yet, I'll advise once this is known. As always, there is more than 1 way to provide the solution we are requiring, so thinking outside the box is encouraged.

Quote:
Interesting.....official acknowledgment that the "Kingaroy Triangle" actually exists.
yes, it's also rumored to be filled with Peanuts and lavender

Quote:
"The airspace within the mission boundary will be specially allocated by CASA for the event and teams must not fly below 200ft (excluding takeoff and landing at the airport)."

Are we allowed to go below 200ft to drop the package off if our craft supports VTOL maneuveures?
No, it is as the written word - you are not allowed to go below 200ft except in the obvious modes of take-off, landing or as commanded by the range marshal (or if you are not sustaining flight....)

Quote:
Also can we submit and then resubmit Deliverable 1 if it gets rejected for whatever reason? (Provided we change it to meet the problems outlined in the rejection)
As per standard industry practice, it's not submit-resubmit repeat and rinse process. However, we will provide a checklist of some capacity with Deliverable 2 this year to help teams provide all the relevent information. Unfortunately "silence" or "we forgot" to put information in, does not help us determine eligibility of a team application. Rarely are deliverable 1 submissions rejected. I would suggest you make sure you have answered all points and information requested in Section 6.1, check and recheck you have answered all the information again, and it should be fine.

Quote:
You gotta love section 3.1.
Yes, we love it. I'm not kidding...

Quote:
can you also look into the failsafe receiver. Page 13 of the Airborne Delivery rules says 'failsafe values' (plural) and page 14 says 'servo positions' (plural again) but then it refers to only one item which is the throttle - ie: 'to simply close the throttle'. Traditionally in this competition, failsafe was on all channels but this sounds more like what Spektrum called 'Smartsafe' which is throttle off and all other channels last good signal.
This year and all years onwards, you will only need to have zero throttle programmed. Many of the spektrum receivers if not capable of full deflections, will revert back to neutral positions. We have accounted for both types of hardware capabilities and changed the rules/competition placement in respect to public and other competitors to be at least 60 metres clear +10 metres to the hurdles. (See page 6 of the rules for the diagram).

Quote:
Must say, I like the site's photo...
Yes, we will have plenty more in years to come. The competition is every 2 years now, not sure where certain un-nammed people in past have tried to spread rumors it's not going to be on, then egg on face...look it's on. Hopefully people will not speculate in the future.

Quote:
Who writes these rules?
We do.

Quote:
I was under the belief that nobody has successfully delivered a water bottle to Joe. Is that correct? And that the 2011 Outback Challenge - Search and Rescue was postponed until 2012 to give teams more time to work on their deliverables, is that right? Because many teams were signing up and then very few were actually ready to complete on the day of the competition....and then these rules get added? I predict one team actually getting in the air next year.
There have been a number of reasons why we made the search and rescue competition a 2 year event, not the annual event of past. Many have to do with the impacts of the flood and cyclone we sustained this year, others are organisational. Know, regardless of the reasons, many have worked hard to ensure the continued event will indeed, continue for many years to come.

Quote:
In 5.1 they have this requirement:
"5. Must have continuous radio communication with the UAV Controller; and"

I was planning on using 3G communications due to the low speed and resistance to turbulence of my aircraft, does this automatically disqualify me? I don't mind changing to regular radio communications (though I do think it would be a waste), but I just don't want to submit my deliverable knowing that if I used radio over 3G I would've been accepted.
You can use any form of communication as long as it's legal (ACMA) compliant, and obviously ...works. I would advise you check the 3g network in Kingaroy first, as it is in the outback. Continuous communication is required with the UAV, if not, failsafes will activate.


Hope that answers some questions.

Cheers

Mark
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Old May 20, 2011, 07:29 PM
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Thanks for that information, I have another question. I can't accurately determine the drag coefficients of my aircraft until I build a full scale model and test it at varying wind speeds in the wild (or a wind tunnel), a scale model won't produce accurate results due to the material used (it can bend in the wind, and making it smaller will make it bend less giving inaccurate drag coefficients). Can I sub in drag coefficients for similar aircraft and provide the real drag coefficients once I have built and tested them?

I refer specifically to this part (more specifically the distances that the vehicle could exceed the mission boundary):
"In the case of lighter than air aircraft, strategies should be included that note how the aircraft can be brought to ground in the case of failure, noting maximum crosswinds and the estimated maximum distances that the vehicle could exceed the Mission Boundary."
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Old May 20, 2011, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Narwhal View Post
Thanks for that information, I have another question. I can't accurately determine the drag coefficients of my aircraft until I build a full scale model and test it at varying wind speeds in the wild (or a wind tunnel), a scale model won't produce accurate results due to the material used (it can bend in the wind, and making it smaller will make it bend less giving inaccurate drag coefficients). Can I sub in drag coefficients for similar aircraft and provide the real drag coefficients once I have built and tested them?

I refer specifically to this part (more specifically the distances that the vehicle could exceed the mission boundary):
"In the case of lighter than air aircraft, strategies should be included that note how the aircraft can be brought to ground in the case of failure, noting maximum crosswinds and the estimated maximum distances that the vehicle could exceed the Mission Boundary."
What type of vehicle will you be flying? One assumption that may be acceptable, since it will be near impossible to get an exact distance, is make the assumption that your vehicle is flying at max velocity at the max altitude you intend to fly at. Assume at said conditions you experience some failure and cannot control your aircraft. Thus you travel at max horizontal velocity until impacting the Earth. A relatively simple calculation just assuming constant descent due to gravity but it may work for the organizers. Check with Mick or Mark.
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Old May 20, 2011, 09:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WS_UASE View Post
..... make the assumption that your vehicle is flying at max velocity at the max altitude you intend to fly at.
...and factor in tailwind as well.
5.6.2 for alternate terminations systems mentions a tailwind scenario of 20 knots
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Old May 20, 2011, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WS_UASE View Post
What type of vehicle will you be flying? One assumption that may be acceptable, since it will be near impossible to get an exact distance, is make the assumption that your vehicle is flying at max velocity at the max altitude you intend to fly at. Assume at said conditions you experience some failure and cannot control your aircraft. Thus you travel at max horizontal velocity until impacting the Earth. A relatively simple calculation just assuming constant descent due to gravity but it may work for the organizers. Check with Mick or Mark.
It's a lighter than air aircraft with a low drag profile (for head on drag, a higher drag profile obviously for the body), think of it is a semi-rigid elongated blimp.

The thing is, although it will have many failsafes they will all differ with how long it takes for the aircraft to reach the ground. The hard one to calculate will be the safety valve, as it pops off it loses buoyancy and thus lift, so descends to the ground at an exponential rate, however the drag on the bottom of the aircraft should be great enough to slow its descent, so it would be good if i could sub in values for deliverable 1 and provide the real values in the formulas in deliverable 2.
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Old May 20, 2011, 11:41 PM
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Dive,dive,dive

Hey Narwhal,

You could dive under power, or drop an anchor !

Jack. : popcorn:
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