UAV Club News


5 July 2013

Report posted for 2013 competition

Paper submitted for 2013 competition available here.


5 July 2013

Successful window entry at 2012 IARC

In August, a total of three PCC team members, an attendance record for the team, competes at the 2012 IARC at Grand Forks. The PCC vehicle successfully gets through the arena window once autonomously, out of a total of four attempts.

The vehicle was successfully controlled by a dual-core BX-24 autopilot that communicated with a ground station near the arena. The ground station software was written in Ada 2005 using a compiler from the GNAT Academic Program (GAP). provided by AdaCore.


26 June 2012

Second core of autopilot built and tested

The second of two BX-24 processors for the autopilot was built and tested. All 8 servo output pins were functional. Mass was 9 grams. Testing was in standalone mode. Integration with the existing autopilot is anticipated in the near future.


22 June 2012

Dual core planned for autopilot

A second processor is scheduled to be added to the autopilot. The new BX-24 from NetMedia will handle servo outputs. The original BX-24 will retain the original sensor I/O, to which will be added a second sonar obstacle detector, an optical flow sensor based on an optical mouse, a sensor to monitor the main battery voltage, and a radio modem on 900 MHz

The original autopilot was capable of multitasking. The new system will add multiprocessing capability as well. Interprocessor communication is handled by serial ports that have a maximum speed of 460800 baud.

The new system will allow independent control of both lift motors. This should solve problems we had with slight thrust mismatches between the two motors. Both yaw vane servos will be controlled independently as well. This should allow the equivalent of elevon control, instead of aileron-only.


1 June 2012

Report posted for 2012 competition

Paper submitted for 2012 competition available here.


9 August 2011

Successful window entry at 2011 IARC

The PCC team attends the 2011 IARC at Grand Forks, North Dakota. The PCC vehicle successfully gets through the arena window twice, out of a total of four attempts.


1 June 2011

Report posted for 2011 competition

Paper submitted for 2011 competition available here.


28 May 2011

Test of thruster

The thrust vector control was tested using manual control of throttle plus both axes. The thruster is intended to allow precise control of horizontal force on the vehicle independent of the attitude of the vehicle. Most of the components were cannibalized from a small R/C blimp. The test was done on 2011/2/7.




08 May 2011

Camera tested for IR sensitivity

The camera was tested to see how well it is able to sense IR radiation, since there might be advantages to using IR instead of visible light for navigation. The test was done using an IR LED, wavelength 940 nm.


04 May 2011

Photos of 2010 IARC

The PCC team attended the 2010 IARC Competition on 13 August. A photo gallery was posted today.




02 May 2011

Camera tracks laser line

A CMUcam1 was able to successfully track a green laser line in real time at a range of about 1.6 m. The line was projected onto a flat wall.


01 May 2011

Camera tests with laser line generators

A CMUcam1 was tested with green and red laser line generators. The plan is to use structured light for navigation. For testing purposes, the light was projected onto a flat wall at a range of about 1.6 m from the camera. An old CMUcam1 is being used as a stand-in for the newer CMUcam3 that arrived last month.


28 April 2011

Arrival of camera, compass, mouse sensor

New equipment arrived today, consisting of a CMUcam3 camera, electronic compass and optical mouse sensor evaluation board. The CMUcam3 mass is 38.4 g, almost identical to the original CMUcam1, mass 37.6 g. The new camera has a built-in ARM7 processor and is fully programmable.


07 April 2011

Arrival of laser line generators

Today arrived two new laser line generators (red and green) plus a red laser cross generator. The plan is to use structured light for navigation. Lasers are from Instapark. The two line modules have a fan angle of 110 deg.

Component masses:

        Green line generator: 19.3 g
        Red line generator: 6.2 g
        Red cross generator: 6.0 g


22 February 2011

Throttle trim problem corrected, payload weight boosted

In previous flight testing (7 Feb), we had trouble maintaining the desired altitude. The problem turned out to be a software problem with throttle trim. We modified the autopilot software to increase trim by about 20 percent, which actually overcompensated.

Rather than dial back the trim, we added 78 g of ballast for a total mass of 334 g. Altitude control was good. The previous maximum tested weight was as 270 g, so we in effect increased payload by 64 g.

We also tried flight testing with the thruster functioning. I was able to control the ISV somewhat, but it was difficult to tell. The vehicle is a bit squirrely, possibly due to the lift fans being misaligned.


07 February 2011

Attempted flight test with thruster, insufficient thrust

Today we attempted a flight test of ISV with the new thruster installed. The vehicle won't get off the ground. Total mass is 262 g. It's not clear what the problem is. We did get video of the thruster with both axes working along with both of the thruster propellers.

If we remove the battery and power the vehicle externally, the vehicle flies, except that it yaws to the left for some reason. Battery mass is 49 g. Note that last July the ISV was flying at 270 g. We suspect the battery is the problem.


20 June 2009

Returning sponsor -- Electric Jet Factory

A welcome back to one of our Mission 4 sponsors, Electric Jet Factory, returning for Mission 5.


14 June 2009

New sponsor -- Desert RC

Welcome to new sponsor Desert RC, coming on board today.


3 June 2009

Report posted for 2009 competition

Paper submitted for 2009 competition available here.


1 Nov 2008

Hovering vehicle

Sonar rangefinders were used for both obstacle detection and altitude. Altitude control is working, obstacle avoidance needs work. Flight is fully autonomous. A gyro is used for yaw control. No other gyros or accelerometers were used.




5 May 2008

Upgraded hovering vehicle

Upgraded version of hovering vehicle was tested on 2008/3/28. This test was under manual control. Passive stability is used for roll and pitch axes. No gyros or accelerometers are used. The balloon stabilizer in the previous version was replaced by an inverted umbrella stabilizer.




3 January 2008

Hovering vehicle

Experimental hovering vehicle was tested on 2007/12/31. This test was under manual control.




Last updated 2013/07/05 FLM