Copter Home

Tip

The ArduPilot Developer Ecosystem is Evolving! Find out more here … [http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/a-new-chapter-in-ardupilot-development]

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This is the full-featured, open-source [http://ardupilot.org/dev/docs/license-gplv3.html#license-gplv3] multicopter UAV controller that won the Sparkfun 2013 and 2014 Autonomous Vehicle Competition [https://avc.sparkfun.com/] (dominating with the top five spots). A team of developers from around the globe are constantly improving and refining the performance and capabilities of Copter.

Copter is capable of the full range of flight requirements from fast paced FPV racing to smooth aerial photography to fully autonomous complex missions which can be programmed through one of 4 elegant and well-developed software ground stations. The entire package is designed to be safe, feature rich, open-ended for custom applications and increasingly easy to use even for novice users.

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System components

  • A Pixhawk [https://store.3dr.com/t/pixhawk] or other autopilot loaded with the latest version of the Copter firmware [http://firmware.ardupilot.org/].
  • Mission Planner software [http://ardupilot.org/planner/index.html#home] – gives you an easy point-and-click setup/configuration, and a full-featured ground control interface.
  • This Copter Wiki provides all the information you need to set up and operate a multicopter or traditional helicopter.
  • A suitable MultiCopter or Helicopter for your mission.
  • Plus many other useful options: e.g. data radios, which allow two-way wireless telemetry and control between the vehicle and your computer.

Rotor Craft types

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Multicopters:

  • Utilize differential thrust management of independent motor-prop units to provide lift and directional control
  • Benefit from mechanical simplicity and design flexibility
  • A capable payload lifter that’s functional in strong wind conditions
  • Redundant lift sources can give increased margin of safety
  • Varied form factor allows convenient options for payload mounting.

Helicopters:

  • Typically use a single lifting rotor with two or more blades
  • Maintain directional control by varying blade pitch via servo-actuated mechanical linkage (many versions of these craft exist and it is beyond the scope of this manual to cover them all – the mechanical systems used in helicopters warrant special study and consideration)
  • Strong, fast and efficient – a proven-worker suitable to many missions.

Because of its open design, Copter also supports more unusual frame types including the Single and Coax-Copters. Put this together with Plane [http://ardupilot.org/plane/index.html#home], Rover [http://ardupilot.org/rover/index.html#home] and Antenna Tracker [http://ardupilot.org/antennatracker/index.html#home] and you have a system of robotic vehicles that can be controlled through very similar interfaces to accomplish a wide variety of tasks.

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Getting more info

  • Continue to the Introduction section of this wiki.
  • Visit DIYDrones.com [http://diydrones.com/] a large community of UAV enthusiast largely clustered around the ArduPilot family of autopilots.
  • Use the APM Forums [http://ardupilot.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=3] to ask support questions and advice.
  • Read or join the drones-discuss email list [https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/drones-discuss] once you’re ready to get involved with the development of the software platform.