White (Quadricopter III)
Update (October 2010): the White project will be split into smaller standalone but cooperative projects: a platform-agnostic implementation of the estimation filter (software), a 9 degrees-of-measure IMU/AHRS device (hardware), and a quadrotor vehicle (mechanical).
My third-generation quadrotor robotic helicopter, intended as an open source redesign of previous projects. All components are in early stages of development; work is focused currently on the IMU, which will be a rigorous exercise in filter implementation and sensor fusion.
White’s footprint, propulsion, and power system will not deviate from most other hobbyist quadrotors; instead, it will feature vastly improved sensory and onboard computing capabilities. Adding to previous iterations will be GPS, 3-axis magnetometer, and a Surveyor Corp. SRV-1 Blackfin camera.
The SRV-1’s 500MHz ADI Blackfin BF537 (1000 MIPS) will serve as higher-level control for White over the IMU and flight control loops. The Blackfin and the SRV-1’s high-speed Lantronix 802.11g Wi-Fi radio link and 1.3MP camera open up many new possibilities for the platform.
The IMU work from previous models have been scrapped. The specs of the redesigned IMU software and hardware will be forthcoming after a working prototype.
An ambitious future goal is to integrate sensorless brushless motor controllers onto the control board, and to use its capabilities for direct rotor control. This will eliminate the bandwidth and latency problems of using common PWM hobby brushless controllers, while also offering some form of RPM/positional feedback, which will allow closed-loop rotor speed control.
Sponsored by Analog Devices, Inc.