First flight of the demonstrator UAV

On September 28, the first flights with the VaMEx demonstrator were performed on the test site of the Institute of Flight Guidance, a decommissioned airfield between Braunschweig and Hanover.

Changing requirements and faulty hardware made it necessary to replace important components of the hexacopter. For example, the drive components and the flight controller were replaced. The new flight controller now also has an Ethernet interface, which makes communication with the onboard computer more robust.

A total of 3 flights were performed, which were used to make basic adjustments to the flight controller and the flight control system. The last flight was already fully automated.

The flight data collected will be evaluated and used to fine-tune the flight controller and the aircraft. In further flight tests, the maximum take-off mass calculated for the final setup of the demonstrator is to be achieved with the help of a replacement payload and the controller parameters adapted to the increased take-off mass so that the first flights for data recording can then be safely completed with the VaMEx sensor payload.

VaMEx-AE has received new optical sensors

The newest member among our the optical sensors weighs in at a total of 100 grams, and it didn’t come alone! Together with the somewhat larger lens, the camera system from Basler weighs a total of 330 grams. As one or the other experienced reader might have guessed, this system will be used for mapping the exploration area.

Furthermore, AE reports that a first mobile test setup for mapping has been set up for field tests. It currently consists of an Nvidia Jetson TX2 mounted on an AUVIDEA carrier board, the Ueye UI-5140CP-M-GL Rev.2 as camera for tracking and the compact “Ellipse-N” from SBG Systems.  The system set up in this way can easily be strapped under a small quadrocopter with a maximum take-off weight of 3 kilograms for initial tests and to collect initial data.

Step by step, our LiDAR, a Hokuyo-UTM 30 LX and the new camera system will be integrated into the test setup.