|Surveyor Robotics Journal|
Sun, 25 Nov 2007
UAV installation of SRV-1 Blackfin - Part 1
We are working with new quad rotor called the "X-3D-BL Scientific" from Ascending Technologies GmbH in Stockdorf, Germany, with the concept of integrating the SRV-1 Blackfin camera and radio board with the UAV flight controls.
Interface is relatively simple - the X-3D-BL has a very capable onboard inertial measurement unit integrated with the brushless motor controls, so the interface between Blackfin and UAV is a simple 38kbps UART. To power the SRV-1 boards, we are connecting directly to the UAV battery pack (11.1V LiPoly).
We have mounted the radio board with a single standoff in place of the original X-3D FM antenna, after drilling a hole in the radio board and clearing a trace that goes to the unused Zigbee header. We added a simple antenna bracket, so everything is securely mounted.
We have made some simple indoor flight tests to verify that there are no issues with balance or radio interference. Image transmission through the WLAN from the SRV-1 Blackfin boards is working fine, and the UAV flight is very stable.
Next step is to run the flight controls from the SRV1Console (with some redefined buttons) through the Blackfin to the X-3D via the UART. One short-term goal is to capture video through the SRV1Console video archive function. After than, an ultrasonic ranging module will be added to the system for ground clearance measurement and control. Beyond that, we have a very long list of projects, including servo control of the camera tilt angle. However, our near-term objective is to develop the necessary firmware to support customers who are building the SRV-1 Blackfin boards into UAV applications. Plus, this is really fun !