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Arduino: Transforming the DIY UAV Community

Posted: May 12th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Open Source | Comments Off

It’s been pretty awesome watching the homebrew UAV community discover and embrace Arduino. Back in January community leader Chris Anderson discovered and fell in love with Arduino. Today he posted information and the board design for an Arduino-powered UAV platform. Because everything is open, it’s very easy to combine functionality from other boards in order to reduce the cost:

The decision to port the Basic Stamp autopilot to Arduino turned out to be an unexpected opportunity to make something really cool. I’ve taken Jordi’s open source RC multiplexer/failsafe board, and mashed it up with an Arduino clone to create “ArduPilot”, perhaps the cheapest autopilot in the world. ($110! That’s one-third the price of Paparazzi)

As with their other projects, the UAV schematics, board design, and Arduino control software will be released before they’re done. It’s quite awesome to realize just how cheap the Arduino-based autopilot is:

That’s a $110 autopilot, thanks to the open source hardware. By comparison, the Basic Stamp version of this, with processor, development board and failsafe board, would run you $300, and it’s not as powerful

I’ve been quite impressed by how quickly the Arduino autopilot has gotten off the ground (pun only slightly intended). The decision to port the existing Basic Stamp code to Arduino was made just over a week ago. While I haven’t seen the control code, it looks like the team are well on their way.

I love it when geek topics collide, and this is about as good as it gets. I’ll be keeping a close eye on the ArduPilot, and I can’t wait to see it in the skies.


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