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Oct 29, 2012, 02:30 PM
Lucid Dreamer
kobkobico's Avatar

RC Simulator for UAV Algorithm Testing

Hello everyone,

My university is going to be entering a UAV competition this year or the next, and we are in the planning stage of creating a UAV. We have a relatively large team of students involved, and so are planning on both designing the airframe and programming the majority of the autopilot. Of course, if we are low on time, we could always use a commercial autopilot, but it would be more fun to make our own no?

I was wondering if any of you have experience using a simulator to test flight algorithms. My idea was that a simulator like RealFlight just takes in input from the controller, which means that if you somehow managed to send that signal from another source, you should still be able to control the plane on the computer. Since servos pretty much work on the percent control throw you give it, I figured it would be possible to make a converter for it. In addition, I see that RealFlight keeps track of heading, altitude, and I'd expect your x,y,z orientation and position.

So just wanted to ask if anybody has attempted something like this previously, or if it is just a waste of time since it is too difficult to get that data out of the program, and/or too difficult to add control input in. My hope was that if we fed data back and forth between the program we could test some basic algorithms like stabilization, turning to a certain heading, automated landings, etc.

Thanks everyone!

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Oct 29, 2012, 04:07 PM
Chris Anderson
Yes, this is standard with APM (both hardware-in-the-loop and software-in-the-loop). We support both Xplane and FlightGear.

It's a great way to test code and algorithms.

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