Fly an RTF drone

Hello everyone,
I wanted to ask a couple of doubts regarding ardupilot.
I have an RTF drone with everything calibrated that uses a pixhawk/cube controller. I want to fly it autonomously using Qgroundcontrol. Could you tell me if I can fly that without using just the Qgroundcontrol software and not a TX2/Rasberrypi on it? if Yes, how? I don’t want to manually fly it by using a manual RC.

How do I do obstacle avoidance in that? Do I need a Tx2 for that?

When does ROS come into picture? Do I need ROS to fly the drone autonomously? How do I integrate it with the Qgoundcontrol? I have read the documentation already.

Also, I have a quadcopter(real drone) with its Flight dynamic Model(FDM). How do I simulate it in Gazebo? because when I did SITL, it is of the quadcopter and not the real drone? Do I need to upload the FDM of the real drone to the arducopter Github repository? if yes, how do I do it?

Thanks in advance.


Yes you can fly with just QGC if everything is already calibrated. Be just aware that you won’t have safety other that trusting RTL and Land mode in case something goes wrong ! Don’t forget to disable RC failsafe, and Never switch to any manual mode (stabilize, althold, loiter, etc.) without radio that lead to instant crash !

For obstacle avoidance, we support a very small set of sensor directly plugged on the Cube that would allow avoidance, but generally, it is better to rely on a companion computer for avoidance filtering and just update the obstacle database on the drone. See the wiki for how it works !

ROS is purely optional. You can use it to profit from its ecosystem and advanced pathplanning / SLAM algorithm for example. But that isn’t mandatory. You cannot interact with ROS from QGC.

Thanks a lot. I really appreciate it.
So, to void any crashes and damages to the vehicle, I want to simulate the whole environment and the route sitting at home but since I have an RTF drone, I am not sure how to do that. The documentation of SITL shows only for arducopters, plane, rover that are inbuilt frames in ardupilot. I have a drone with QuadX airframe but I am not able to simulate it in Gazebo and/or SITL. Could you help me with this. How do I simulate the drone in real-time? I have the parameters and the Flight Dynamic Model of the drone.

Also, are there any other things you would like to recommend me for my first flight. I don’t want a crash on my first flight so I am making sure I research everything, perform a simulation and then go out.

Further, just wanted to make sure that the QGC displays the real GPS waypoints right? So, when I go out in an open field, I need to adjust the waypoints according to that location? Is that correct?

So, let’s say if I have to go out for a flight test and I have someone who is controlling the drone via a manual controller(for safety), is it safe to test it by using QGC?

Also, you said to update the obstacle avoidance database on the drone? How to do that? The reason I am asking this is because I have a drone that uses ardupilot. But I don’t know how do I use it with ardupilot as in the documentation, I didn’t find a section to integrate our own drone. So, I am not sure how and where does the parameters and FDM of my drone reflects on ardupilot Github?

Also, you were saying about safety. How do I incorporate safety features in the drone for the future?

Thank you.

Also, if I use a TX2i as a companion computer, do I have to upload the path planning and the Computer Vision scripts onto it to fly the drone and provide waypoints, or can I control the drone through QGC even after that?