Controlling toy flyers


The development of novel micro aerial vehicles (MAVs) is time consuming, expensive and requires knowledge in many fields including electronics, mechanics, software engineering and control.  Luckily more and more cheap flying platforms including quadcopters, helicopters, airplanes and flappers become commecially available in hobby shops. The goal of this project is to evaluate the feasibility of the use of these cheap and ready-to-use commercial micro aerial vehicles (MAVs) as an acceptable alternative to fully proprietary developed prototypes.

Development process


Fig. 1 Development pipeline

In order to show the feasibility of such takeover, we had at our disposition a PC on which we implemented the MAV controlling software MAVPCI, an USB controller pad in order to make the interface more user-friendly and an embedded microcontroller on a compact PCB, directly implanted into the retro-engineered MAV. The goal of the microcontroller is to receive our own control signal generated in the PC interface, and use it to emulate the original electronic control signal. That give us a fl


  The results we obtained with the Sneflight Alien Jump Jet are quite promising. Indeed, using the MAVPCI software along with the USB-BT-RS485 Firmware implemented according to the description above, we were able to make the quadcopter take off and respond to our commands. The interface overall works as expected, with the exception of a small delay bug introduced periodically by the microcontroller. It seems that each

Fig 2 . The resulting platform based on the Sneflight Alien Jump Jet©.