The Avionics section is responsible for the design and implementation of our aircraft onboard electrical, flight control and communications systems, as well as ground-based support hardware and plane propulsion.
Prop Stop is a research project investigating a system that can electrically stop the plane’s VTOL propellers in a particular orientation. This is particularly important to ensure that the aerodynamics of the plane are optimised during cruise flight when the VTOL propellers are not in use.
Our ControllableLoad PCB is a customisable testing platform for our power distribution boards and associated electronics. It allows us to produce arbitrary load patterns and waveforms, which enables more accurate electrical simulations of different parts of the aircraft, allowing us to better design and optimise our power distribution boards.
As part of the Albatross, we must be able to identify and provide the location of unique paper targets on the ground from the air.
This project combines a machine-learning algorithm for finding these targets and advanced geo-locating techniques to provide highly accurate GPS coordinates of the identified targets.
In order to keep track of the team’s resources and supplies, we developed an inventory system that automatically audits parts and allows one touch ordering of essential components.
Every good ground-station system needs a good user interface to allow our pilots to receive the most up-to-date telemetry data and access important controls for flying our aircraft.
Murra is a graphical user interface which serves this purpose, interfacing between pilot input and our mission management software Manimi for our aircraft.
Albatross UAVCAN Board
There are a number of complex avionics systems that are crucial to the Albatross plane.
One of these systems is a set of UAVCAN boards that translate between highly noise-tolerant UAVCAN communication and PWM, which is what our wing servos take as input signals. This allows us to reduce the noise experienced in servo communication but still keep the flexibility to use PWM servos.
The accuracy of traditional GPS systems is insufficient for the NFC, therefore our team is integrating Real Time Kinematics (RTK) GPS into the albatross plane to utilise its centimetre-level accuracy.
The team is also designing a custom carrier PCB that will seamlessly integrate the avionics stack of the albatross plane to use space in the fuselage more efficiently.
Manimi is a mission management software that serves as a simple and accessible way for team members to build full-featured and rich missions with little underlying knowledge required.
The project allows the Flight Operations team to write mission ‘scripts’ in Python which can then be executed on the drone. It will also interface between several other MUAS projects, such as our Ground Station Murra and our Computer Vision Software.
Manimi allows us to write missions more complicated than ever before, and cleanly integrate several different MUAS projects behind the scenes.