CanberraUAV Outback Challenge 2018 Debrief

The Outback Challenge for 2018 is over, and as in past years I’ve written up a technical debrief from the point of view of CanberraUAV.


"The avoidance system we developed for ArduPilot has been built over several months and is easily the biggest advance in ArduPilot that has come out of this year’s competition. The 2016 competition pushed us to add fixed wing VTOL support to ArduPilot, and this year the competition once again pushed us to develop ArduPilot in new and useful ways. We were delighted to see it performing so well in a test over long distances, with the Porter dodging all the aircraft, birds and weather systems that the organiser’s DNFZ generator threw at us. "


… “The only way we could think of to allow the search to proceed was to establish an alternative link between the Pixhawk and the RaspberryPi. The serial cable wasn’t working, so using mavproxy commands over an ssh link into the RaspberryPi we added a rather complex route for the packets. We told mavproxy on the RaspberryPi to listen on UDP port 14550, then we told mavproxy on my GCS laptop to redirect packets that it received from the Porter over the RFD900x link to the RaspberryPi by way of a VPN running on my home network back in Canberra. In this way the RaspberryPi could get telemetry from the Pixhawk, travelling over 2000 km via Canberra instead of the usual 20 centimetres of the serial cable.” …


"We wondered if we could identify where the hatch was lost from the onboard log, and perhaps even find the hatch. Peter and I looked carefully at the EKF barometer innovations in the log and found one particularly suspicious event. […] Armed with that information we modified the image matching code “geosearch” that we use for offline matching of targets to look for a target with the right dimensions of the hatch and disabled the “red and blue” scoring system that we used for the 2018 target, instead using our generic “unusual object” scoring system from the 2016 challenge. […] During the lunch break we got permission from the organisers to undergo a ground search for the hatch as the location was close to a small farm road to the south of the runway. When we arrived Jimmy immediately spotted the hatch close to the location where geosearch had indicated and we were able to bring the hatch home.


Congrats, also big kudos to Monash UAS for overall first place, and second place team Dhaksha with their hybrid Hex, just one point behind. What an overall achievement for Ardupilot!


Mick will be investing in a long stick to push buttons with in future events.

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That’s a beautiful photo of the Porter. Who took it?

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yes, I love that shot. It was taken by Josh Smallwood

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