Fisher Innovation FI-AUAV (2010)
The Fisher Innovation – Autonomous Unmanned Ariel Vehicle was a project started to combine various skill sets I have obtained over the years. Combining my passion for aviation, programming and fabrication, the goal was to create a fully autonomous airborne vehicle. The FI-AUAV project has actually been made up of numerous planes. During the testing phase of new hardware and code, I would built cheap foam planes from a template to easily re-test post crash and do it inexpensively.
- Fully autonomous flight (including take-off and landing)
- Autonomous critical decision making (low fuel turn around, autopilot malfunction, etc.)
- Full pilot control from the ground (fly by wire & direct control)
- Waypoint control from ground station (preflight and during)
- Static forward video feed with programmable HUD displaying realtime telemetry (calculated onboard)
- Belly high zoom camera system on pan tilt mechanism controlled from the ground
- Dedicated power system for engines, autopilot, video & radio broadcast with passive redundancy onboard
- Fully electric system
To properly allow for real-time communication with the ground control system, the FI-AUAV system requires a directional antenna mounted on a pan tilt arm for automated control. The antennas position is automatically updated as the UAV's GPS data is transmitted back to the ground station. To avoid any issue with latency or lost signal, the antenna can automate a search pattern based of the calculated UAV flight path.
When testing new additions to the autopilot system, the autopilot hardware is connected to a host machine via serial connection. Tests are completed within X-Plane where simulation data is sent to the autopilot to calculate and send back to the simulator to fly the active simulation. The current FI-AUAV autopilot control system has flown over 500 hours of simulated flight time during testing of new additions and bug fixes.