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Navio2 + RPi + RMRC Recruit

Orion

Aerial Photographer
#1
Hello all!

So my two passions recently came to a point of intersection during a lengthy discussion with my professor... GIS and RC aircraft (Wow... does
that sound super nerdy to anyone else? :p) The take away was to create an open-source platform capable of collecting all types of data that could then be plugged into a GIS. I'm planning on just starting with a simple down ward facing camera for terrain mapping.

I've been hacking away at this for probably 3 weeks now and figured I might want to share the journey with the community here! It still hasn't left the ground but its certainly close!

Current setup is running:
- RMRC Recurit w/ stock hardware (minus stabilization board)
- Navio2 on a RPi 3 B+ motherboard (running Arduplane)
- MissionPlanner ground control station software
- Orange 615X RX
- Spektrum DX6i
- RPi Camera (8MP)

Anyone interested in this sort of project? Or has anyone else tackled this sort of thing?
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
#2
There are several people working on and in various stages for similar projects. Some for personal use, some for school, some to start a buisness.

Youd have to dig thru the forums though as they only pop up randomly.

Now... on a personal note I would suggest better radio gear as you will be flying a lot of gear and unique equipment. Specially if you think about doing anything more then a few hundred feet away reliably.
 

Orion

Aerial Photographer
#3
There are several people working on and in various stages for similar projects. Some for personal use, some for school, some to start a buisness.

Youd have to dig thru the forums though as they only pop up randomly.

Now... on a personal note I would suggest better radio gear as you will be flying a lot of gear and unique equipment. Specially if you think about doing anything more then a few hundred feet away reliably.
I've been looking around the forums for a while for similar ideas... I guess the two big differences that I have from other posts are running a Navio2 for a FC/ROS (and the programing mess that brings) and actually publishing the build for others utilize once its all said and done. I've yet to find a single start to finish guide/blog on a fixed wing mapping plane using Navio2.

I see a real lack of information on the web regarding autonomous/semi-autonomous mapping on fixed wing.

My current radio setup is due to budget limitations mainly, I usually only fly little park- flyers... However I certainly understand what you mean. I'm a little all over the place on exactly which system to move to. Navio2 requires a CPPM or S.BUS input from the RX so that sort of limits my options a bit, but fortunately keeps some good brands in the run. I'm not looking for crazy 10km+ distances but a 1.5-2km range would probably suffice as the idea would be to upload a flight plan to Navio and the have the RPi collecting the data from GPS, images, and platform orientation.

Anyway, back to the point... I've got the radio gear narrowed down to probably a Taranis X7 with an X4R-SB. Admittedly radios are my weak point...
 

makattack

Winter is coming
Moderator
Mentor
#4
It's a cool project you have. While I do see the value of having a full computer as a flight controller, my experimentation in autonomous flight have been more simplistic. If you haven't purchased all the equipment yet, you might find a cheaper and easier to setup solution using common hobby flight controllers. Have a look at the pixhawk style controllers. Some of which you can get for around $200 with all the sensors you need (for fixed wing mapping, I'd say you will need an airspeed sensor)

There are documented ways people have integrated the pixhawk with aerial cameras to record GPS coordinates in the EXIF metadata for geotagging.

Anyhow, that's just a suggestion if cost and time were a concern. Otherwise, enjoy your project! I would also add that for autonomous control, I find having more switches to be quite handy on the TX. A DX6i is barely enough -- I got arduplane/APM working find with a DX6i, but it really got to be a bit of a handful to program and remember what all the switches did. I ended up going with a Taranis X9D+ and updated it with a six position rotary switch to select flight modes more easily.

Oops! I'm terrible with attention to detail. Just saw that you already had the hardware and are setting it all up. While I can't offer too much hands on help with what you have, did you check out the arduplane forums for linux flight controllers?

https://discuss.ardupilot.org/c/hardware-discussion/linux-autopilots

Have fun!
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
#5
I admire people with the smarts and abilities to innovate new things. I have many ideas but I tend to over think them specially when it comes to safety issues.

I have permanant injuries due to someone not thinking or performing their duties properly and may be a tad ocd if not scared of hurting soneone by what I do.

I think you will find that a lot of people in the hobby stay away from autonomous things for just that reason.

You have to have yer skills up to speed and dead on point to put something in the air on its own.

There is also the costs as most of the systems should be doubled up and able to change over automatically if the primary should fail if they were to do it scientifically / engineered properly which is where the expense enters the picture.

I wont mention if you happen to favor banggood for parts normally that person should not be doing anything autonomus.

Good luck and have fun on your project just keep in mind how what you do could effect others or the hobby both with success and failures.