AEROBOTICS ARCHIVE @ 2007
The Aerobotics© (Aerial Robotics) Research Group at Monash, established in 1999, is interested in all aspects of the design, construction and application of UAVs. The Group's primary focus is on electrically powered aircraft however its research is also supported by more conventional aircraft particularly for long range applications.
Updated 21 October, 2007
The Group acts as a focus for some of the UAV research at Monash. Group Members personal pages should be consulted for their own specific contributions and publications. Please refer to the Department of Electrical & Computer Systems Engineering Staff and Research Directories.
The Group is fully insured for non-line of sight fully autonomous operations. Operations are conducted under the guidance of the Monash UAV Operations Manual.
The P15035 is our main work horse. P16025 is a higher aspect aircraft with lower payload and higher endurance.
The details here relate to the P16025, P15035 and Duigan aircraft. Terry Cornall and Ray Cooper were largely responsible for the early work on telemetry. Numerous components were developed to support the research.
UAVs pose numerous challenges. Our comprehensive RF test facilities have proved invaluable in addressing these challenges.
The group works with several autopilots. Our VMC autopilots, unlike INS based autopilots, require almost no setup. We have succesfully used in flight Z-N autotuning. Ming Liu and Greg Egan are working on more sophisticated model identification and tuning schemes (pdf) which are applicable to INS as well as our VMC autopilots.
We now have many hours of log files from our autopilots which we may release to other researchers particularly those working in the area aircraft control systems. We have developed a visualiser (pdf), based on Microsoft Flight Simulator and FlightGear, which plays the logfiles. This may be used in online or offline mode.
See also the overview paper.
The primary radio control links are based on JR PCM equipment operating at 36MHz.
The failsafe VHF beacon uses Radiometrix RF Modules. Loss of the beacon signal for any reason for a period longer than 2.5s will terminate the flight. The nominal range of this Beacon is 10Km.
For some test flights within line of sight we do not use the VHF Beacon. In these cases failsafe is triggered by the loss of RC transmissions for more than 1.5s.
The failsafe monitoring circuits are independent of the autopilot and use separate power sources sufficient to trigger parachute release mechanisms. The purpose of the parachute is to limit kinetic energy not as an aircraft recovery mechanism.
See also the overview paper .
Date telemetry is at 900MHz using a MaxStream modems. The nominal range of this equipment is 32Km.
Video Telemetry is at 2.4GHz. The nominal range of the link is 1Km with patch antenna built by Ray Cooper or greater with a tracking antenna [YouTube] (paper)developed by Stewart Jenvey and visiting researchers. Stewart's interests extend to all aspects of RF design and avionics.
Currenty we use the Pentax Optio series of cameras because of their low mass and ability to stream video. The camera is remotely operated by synthesising Pentax commands and coupling them to the camera remote control system using opto-couplers.
We also use a variety of simple steerable card cameras largely for viewing airframe performance (airflow, parachute release, control surface operation etc.).
Most of the early work on camera systems and telemetry was peformed by Terry Cornall and Ray Cooper. Terry continued to be a driving force on video telemetry and other camera based techniques.
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Earlier trial presentations have a more populist presentation as the emphasis was more on attracting students of school age to our University. We have regularly taken part in Air Shows where we are accorded the status of flight crews for demonstration flighs. The VRRF proposal had a major educational focus aimed at assisting in arresting the flight of youth from rural areas.
These pages are no longer routinely updated as we are concentrating our attention on publications and the other demands of University life. See also You Tube for videos.
We greatfully acknowledge the support of the many friends and organisations including:
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The term Aerobotics is Copyright © 1999, CTIE