We are well on our way to developing our next competition level UAV System! The system design has been completed and can be seen in the adjacent flow chart. This image illustrates how each component of the project interacts with other components, and what information is required by each of them. The flow chart is also used to get new members up to speed on how the new system will work, which will allow them to become strong contributors to the project in a short amount of time. Also linked below is WARG's Beginning of Term (BOT) Presentation. This PowerPoint was also developed as an instructional tool to inform students on available tasks that need to be completed. The presentation also outlines what it means to be a part of a student design team, and a brief overview of our upcoming competition with Unmanned Systems Canada in Alma, Quebec! For those who are interested, we've also linked WARG's Design Paper for the competition, which descirbes various design decisions of the system, and how we approached the problem.
WARG is ALWAYS looking for additional help and new talent to complete tasks and make sure we're competition ready for May 1st! If you'd like to participate, send us an email and we'll respond with how you can get started! We have members contacting us all the time to find out how they can get involved, and YOU are no exception! Our goal is to have all of the components illustrated in the System Design Map (fancy flow chart) developed by the end of February. This deadline gives us ample amount of time for testing, system integration, troubleshooting, and fine tuning. HELP US MAKE A FULLY AUTOMATED UAV SURVEILlANCE SYSTEM!
The Waterloo Aerial Robotics Group is gearing up for their next competition, and we have BIG plans for this year! We are taking on the challenge of revamping our entire system. From adding a new tracking antenna, FPV camera system, and a high resolution main camera - to completely redoing our aircraft, ground control station, and image processing systems, WARG is planning to take this year's competition by storm! With all of these plans, comes a lot of work. WARG is looking for students, as well as sponsors, to help us in achieving our dreams!
We currently have new teams of students coming together who wish to participate in the project, and they have started to design our tracking antenna system from scratch. We are also in the process of gathering students who are interested in computer vision / image processing, and already have a few students who are highly interested in creating this system for WARG. If you're interested in assisting any one of these teams (whether you have prior knowledge or not) then come on out, we'd love to hear your ideas!
Available Project Teams
The scope of our project is not limited to just the above two project teams, a full listing of the projects WARG has to offer are as follows:
Project Success Requires YOU
Since WARG is redoing an extremely large majority of our systems at once, a project of this size can come with a heavy price tag. Since WARG is a Student Design Team, we are solely funded by the financial and equipment contributions of our sponsors. If you know a company you believe would be interested in sponsoring WARG, or are in fact one of these companies, then please contact us! We believe we have a strong team coming together this year, and strongly believe our system will perform with exceptional capabilities!
*The Project Information will be updated in the near future once project teams have moved forward in their design phases
S.P.I.K.E. is an expanded polyolefin (EPO) plane crafted from the body of a BlitzRCWorks Super Sky Surfer RC Sailplane Glider. With a 94.5" wingspan, and a body length of 53.1", SPIKE is designed for optimized gliding capability to reduced power consumption. The greater wingspan size provides superior stability for steady flight in most wind conditions. The Super Sky Surfer is constructed from EPO Flex Foam, which in turn provides a strong, light frame for the aircraft. After modifications to the aircraft body, S.P.I.K.E. now houses the following components: single axis camera gimbal, Canon Powershot SX260 HS camera, custom autopilot board, EZUHF Receiver module, VectorNav IMU, GPS module, XBee RF module, and a 3S 5800mAh lipo battery.
The SPIKE UAV is a stabilized aircraft that is capable of flying in a wide range of wind conditions, completing missions without hesitation. SPIKE performs surveillance tasks and captures clear images of the area below. The fully autonomous aircraft has complete path following capabilities, enabled through waypoint input.. SPIKE flies autonomously by receiving a set of GPS coordinates and calculating the appropriate heading; upon completion of all waypoints, it returns to the "home" coordinates. SPIKE has become a learning platform for the members of WARG over its development, and the team will proceed with advanced development. WARG is extremely proud of SPIKE's performance thus far, and hopes that the project can be further developed to better meet the requirements of the UAV industry.
Project Helios is the name for WARG's original design aircraft still in early development. It is a tricopter based aircraft able to transition into an airplane configuration mid-flight. The transition converts the tricopter arms into a vertical position (during the airplane configuration stage). The motors on these arms now provide forward propulsion to the aircraft, while the lift is generated by the wing. Helios combines the efficiency of a fixed wing aircraft with the ability of a tricopter to perform vertical takeoff and landing. This is an exciting project that all team members are thrilled to see in action. With the proof of concept already tested, we are now in the design phase for the first working prototype of Helios.
Some of the missions performed by UAVs are not in "ideal" areas (i.e. areas where a runway exists for the aircraft to take-off and land). Hence, the ability for an aircraft to perform vertical take-off and landings (such as the ones performed normally by a tricopter) becomes essential to the success of the mission. Unfortunately multi-rotor vehicles such as tri- and quadcopters are extremely inefficient in the conversion from power to lift, reducing the flight time substantially. By transforming the aircraft into an airplane configuration after take-off, power consumption is preserved by using the lifting force provided by the large wing. Helios is being designed with this exact concept in mind, although the potential of such a system has moved far past this initial idea. This style aircraft would be able to transition back to the tricopter state during a surveillance mission to obtain a stable image of the terrain below. Further, this aircraft can hover around a large target, acquiring shape and height for volume calculations. The Helios project presents many possibilities to the UAV industry, though its development continues to be a work in progress. WARG team members are excited about the further development of the prototype.