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)