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Integration of an Autopilot System With a Hobby RC Helicopter

[+] Author Affiliations
Pu Xie, Bryndan Gardner, Ou Ma

New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

Paper No. DETC2011-48606, pp. 973-981; 9 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 3: 2011 ASME/IEEE International Conference on Mechatronic and Embedded Systems and Applications, Parts A and B
  • Washington, DC, USA, August 28–31, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5480-8
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


This paper describes the integration and test work of a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with autopilot capability, which is currently being developed at New Mexico State University. The UAV is an integration of a commercially available autopilot system (Micropilot’s MP2128HELI ) with an RC helicopter (Raptor 90). It has been found quite challenging to integrate an autopilot system with a hobby RC helicopter for research purpose because hobby airframes, as low-cost and manually operated toys, were not designed readily for working with delicate and sensitive autopilot electronics. In our case, the strong vibration disturbances from the gas engine and other moving parts of the airframe significantly corrupted the signals from the avionics hardware. Innovative vibration isolation technique has been developed to mechanically isolate the vibrations from affecting the autopilot system. Several other key problems related to electromagnetic interference shielding and safe flight test were also effectively solved on the project. The integration work has been completed and the UAV is currently being tested.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME
Topics: Autopilots



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