We had been using iNav software for the flight controller but have decided to switch to Ardupilot the following reasons: 1) Ardupilot can have a "companion processor" like the Jetson Nano that does vision/AI and decides things like which way to go. We really want to explore what can be done with AI on a solar powered airplane. Like can it avoid clouds and stay in the sun more, can it scan the horizon with a telephoto camera looking for boats, can it head for a boat automatically, etc. This seems fun. 2) Ardupilot can use a companion processor to communicate over cell data network (4G) to a ground station. With this we could fly all around Anguilla and still have communication between the ground station and the airplane. So from the ground we can change the mission plan during the flight. We could decide to go to a particular boat, or decide to come home because the change of rain has gone up. Or if we don't have AI avoiding clouds we could do it
After I get one prototype working reasonably well I will update this page with conditions for a prize for improvements in the design. Crowd Research Prizes The "goodness number" (GN) will be miles flown in one day (relative to air). Improvements of X percent over the previous GN will get a prize payout of the amount X * Y dollars. The Y will start at $200 but can increase as we get crowd funding. Each time a prize is awarded the GN benchmark will be adjusted. Technical Requirements Must use Fomular 250 or foam on Amazon Must use Maslow CNC if any CNC unless expected prize payout is more than twice the cost of the CNC. If a new CNC is once accepted it will always be an option for future contestants. All parts except solar panels and Fomular 250 must be from Amazon Must be solar/battery/electric - no gas/fuel or fuel cells, etc Solar panels can be anyplace with public prices but we like solarealdrone.com Must use iNav on flight con
With a "two servo micro gimbal" you can tell iNav to stabilize your camera. The flight controller already has tilt sensors and a computer, so with the iNav software setup right it can control the servos and stabilize a camera. You do need to have 2 extra servo outputs on the flight controller. There are a number of these on Amazon. If we just search Amazon for "servo gimbal Mini Pan-Tilt mount FPV" there are several for under $25 but you may have to put in your own servos. You can also 3D print the plastic parts and add your own servos. This is for a Raspberry Pi or Jetson Nano type camera but should not be hard to get it to hold a DJI Camera. There are also head trackers so that the airplane can point the camera where you turn your head. This increases the feeling of being on the airplane, so can increase the fun.