TIIC2015 - Hercules Autopilot


University: University of Florida
Team Members: Jordan Street
Faculty Advisor: Fred Taylor

TI Parts Used:

Project Description

The Hercules Autopilot is a full flight control system designed for quadrotor unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) featuring 100% custom designed hardware and software. Both manual flight control modes and fully autonomous waypoint navigation are supported. The system consists of an air module which is mounted on the flight vehicle and a telemetry module which interfaces with commercial ground station software on a laptop. A radio controlled (RC) transmitter is used to fly the quadrotor in manual flight modes and switch to autonomous waypoint navigation. The telemetry module provides the current flight conditions as well as mission status. 

Quadrotor UAVs are unstable systems which require flight controllers to fly. Unlike an RC plane which can be controlled by directly interfacing the RC receiver with the control surface servos, a quadrotor must have additional hardware to translate flight commands to appropriate motor speeds.

The Hercules Autopilot features two primary flight modes, angle mode (manual mode) and waypoint mode (autonomous mode). In angle mode, the pilot uses the right stick of the RC transmitter to command tilt angles resulting in translational motion. Vertical movement of the left stick controls the overall throttle command. Horizontal movement of the left stick controls the vehicle rotation rate command. In waypoint mode, the quadrotor autonomously flies a predetermined flight path specified by GPS waypoints.

  • 100% custom designed hardware and software
  • ARM Cortex-R4F Safety platform
  • Two flight modes:
    • Angle mode - manual flight, pilot maneuvers vehicle
    • Waypoint mode - vehicle autonomously flies predetermined flight path specified by GPS waypoints
  • Triple-redundant power supply
  • Comprehensive sensor package
    • 3-axis gyroscope
    • 3-axis accelerometer
    • 3-axis magnetometer
    • Barometric altimeter
    • GPS
  • Spread spectrum RF link
  • Buffered I/O
    • 6 PWM inputs
    • 8 PWM outputs
    • External SPI port
  • USB connectivity


Project Report and Schematics

Code Composer Studio Project Files

User's Guide

See the project report and video demonstration.