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.

Links (unaf­fil­i­ated)