Getting started with quadrocopters
We often get contacted by people interested in getting started with quadrocopters. The goal of this page is to provide some links to (what we believe) is relevant information about quadrocopter basics and answer some questions about our system.
Please note that the Flying Machine Arena does not consist exclusively of quadrocopters. The system contains: a motion capture system that provides position and attitude information; computers for running control and estimation algorithms; and radio links to communicate with the vehicles. Furthermore, a simulator and various algorithms developed in-house support the different projects.
An overview of the system can be found in the paper “Lupashin, S.; Hehn, M.; Mueller, M.W., Schoellig, A.P., Sherback, M., D’Andrea, R, “A platform for aerial robotics research and demonstration: The Flying Machine Arena,” Mechatronics, Volume 24, Issue 1, 2014, pp. 41–54″ (PDF).
For information on modeling quadrocopters, we refer to the following papers describing the details the mathematical equations governing quadrocopter flight. The first paper also provides details on the Flying Machine Arena architecture, and infrastructure.
- Lupashin, S.; Hehn, M.; Mueller, M.W., Schoellig, A.P., Sherback, M., D’Andrea, R, “A platform for aerial robotics research and demonstration: The Flying Machine Arena,” Mechatronics, Volume 24, Issue 1, 2014, pp. 41–54
PDF, Elsevier link
- Mahony, R.; Kumar, V.; Corke, P., “Multirotor Aerial Vehicles: Modeling, Estimation, and Control of Quadrotor,” Robotics & Automation Magazine, IEEE , vol.19, no.3, pp.20,32, Sept. 2012
Electronics and flight control
There are a number of open-source multicopter projects out there, such as the Pixhawk PX4 (the electronics are open-source, as is the source code). While our quadrocopters are based on the ‘Hummingbird’ quadrotor formerly made by Ascending Technologies, we have replaced the on-board controls with the Pixhawk PX4 FMU electronics.
Below are listed some other interesting projects, and their wikis & forums would also be good places to look for further information:
- Crazyflie nano quadcopter: a neat, tiny, completely open-source quadrocopter, which you can fly from your computer
Not what you were looking for? Got a tip?
Let us know if you did not find the information you were looking for, or if you know of a great resource to help people get started.