Book Image

Designing Purpose-Built Drones for Ardupilot Pixhawk 2.1

By : Ty Audronis
Book Image

Designing Purpose-Built Drones for Ardupilot Pixhawk 2.1

By: Ty Audronis

Overview of this book

The Ardupilot platform is an application ecosystem that encompasses various OS projects for drone programming, flight control, and advanced functionalities.The Ardupilot platform supports many Comms and APIs, such as DroneKit, ROS, and MAVLink. It unites OS drone projects to provide a common codebase. With the help of this book, you will have the satisfaction of building a drone from scratch and exploring its many recreational uses (aerial photography, playing, aerial surveillance, and so on). This book helps individuals and communities build powerful UAVs for both personal and commercial purposes. You will learn to unleash the Ardupilot technology for building, monitoring, and controlling your drones.This is a step-by-step guide covering practical examples and instructions for assembling a drone, building ground control unit using microcontrollers, QgroundControl, and MissionPlanner. You can further build robotic applications on your drone utilizing critical software libraries and tools from the ROS framework. With the help of DroneKit and MAVLink (for reliable communication), you can customize applications via cloud and mobile to interact with your UAV.
Table of Contents (16 chapters)
Title Page
About the Author
About the Reviewer
Customer Feedback

Safety and best practices

This is all going to sound very obvious and like common sense. Well, it is. Unfortunately though, sometimes common sense can go right out the window when someone is excited about testing out a new vehicle. Being overly nervous can have the same effect. So, here are some basic guidelines to follow for reference:

  • Never test a new setting around people: This is true with all types of drones. It doesn't matter if you're at a designated flying field, RC car track, or missile testing range. Choose a time when there are as few observers as possible. If things go wrong, you don't want to hurt someone.
  • Take baby steps in testing: Did you just build a new drone? Don't go full autonomous. You never want to go full autonomous. At least not right out of the gate. First, run at full manual control to make sure all of the linkages are working properly. Then, step it up to some small autonomous maneuvers, and work your way up to flat out speed, or takeoffs and landings.
  • Leave the propellers off: When you're making sure that power gets to the system and programming the system; remove the propellers on any air vehicles. Put any rovers up on stands to get the wheels off the ground. Elevate any boats to keep the screws off the table. If the throttle suddenly goes wide open, you don't want any personal or property damage.
  • Always remember that your drones are experimental: The drones you build yourself are not full production machines. They don't have an entire team of engineers and quality assurance technicians, and they certainly aren't made by a corporation that can be held responsible for faulty assembly in the case of an accident. You are responsible for anything that may go wrong. Therefore, be responsible. These things can hurt or even kill people. A large 20 lb drone falling from the sky into a crowd of people is not going to make for a pleasant day for anybody.
  • Have a spotter with you: Testing drones is a team effort. As you'll probably have your face buried in a screen monitoring telemetry data, or have target fixation on your drone trying to keep your financial investment in the air, on all four wheels, or skitting across the surface of a pond; have someone with you to advise you of obstacles and problems you may face. They can also help keep onlookers that happen by back from the danger zone. In the event of something catastrophic, they can also help you find all the pieces.