Gumstix Quadrotor Control Algorithm Design

Danny Chan and David Effa
Case revision date: 
6 pages (Case Study)

Quadrotor developed based on Lisa/LGumstix Inc, based in San Jose, California, USA, designs, manufactures and distributes open-source products based on Texas Instruments and Marvell applications processors that are known for their small size, wide range of function, and low power requirements. The company designs a range of computer-on-module products (COM), which are a type of embedded single board computer (SBC). In 2012, the company investigated the feasibility of converting one of its daughterboard for their Overo series robotics microcontroller boards, RoboVero, to replace a quadrotor autopilot controller based on Gumstix technology, called Lisa/L, which recently went out of production. In this new application, the RoboVero device would be expected to perform intensive computations, such as mapping, localization, and planning. The RoboVero microcontroller would handle flight controls based on input from a Gumstix microprocessor, called Overo.

Danny Chan, a coop student from University of Waterloo, was asked to determine its viability of a Gumstix RoboVero expansion board as a controls board, or autopilot board, for a quadrotor.

Learning objectives: 

The learning objective of case study is to introduce students to current intelligent system and algorithms suitable for flight control. The case covers topics in flight control algorithms, dynamics model of the Quadrotor platform, signal conditioning (sensor fusion algorithms). The case is proposed to be used in Introduction to Microprocessors and Digital Logic (MTE 262) and Microprocessor Systems and Interfacing for Mechatronics Engineering (ECE 325).

Key words: 
Quadrotor; Signal Conditioning; Microcontroller; Computer-on-Module (COM); Microprocessors
CEAB attributes: 
Design; Problem Analysis; Creativity; Use of Engineering Tools
Module 01 - Case Study
Module 02 - Flight Control Algorithm Design (Restricted to educators only)
Module 03 – Quadrotor Control algorithms simulation and Redesign (Restricted to educators only)
Module TN – Teaching Note (Restricted to educators only)

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