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What part of the flight does ardupilot handle

I’m a fourth year mechanical engineering and mechatronics minor student. I recently started working on a autonomous flying and target locking uav project. I even took a class about flight vehicles control from the aerospace department(since modern control theory is not being teached in my department in undergrad level) just for this project. But now I understand that all things related to control(stabilization etc.) is already handled by the arduplane firmware itself. So my question is how does my companion computer interact with the autopilot? Is it just high level commands like giving the velocity vector, attitude etc for the plane and does ardupilot handle the rest itself? If this is the case does playing with the source code itself give me any low level advantages or does it do everything already perfectly? I would appreciate an answer with an example (like ardupilot can make standart maneuver but if you want to do this you have to write it yourself) ?Will learning anything about flight mechanics or control give me any help(I’m sure learning anything is useful for an engineer but can I directly use it in this project). Can I use simulink anywhere in this project(I want to use it for something practically other than my homeworks). I will not design the plane and image processing part I already handled so if the plane can fly itself, where is the challange in this project? Thanks in advance
Uras
Turkey

yes.

No.

We do hope so, but there are no guaranties.

Yes, but is complicated, and probably of no advantage.

Translating the image processing outputs into mavlink commands using pymavlink, dronekit-python, or mavros.

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