Normal R/C transmitters are not the best way to control a UxV. For instance, they usually require additional components like ArduStation for the ArduPilot project, which means, the operator has to start juggling already with 2 components. Depending on mission and payload, there easily might be 1 or 2 more systems added. Based on this idea, I started thinking about a UxV controller which at least incorporates the R/C transmitter and the mission control component.
This project currently is in draft status. I will update this article as the project progresses.
Thanks to the sponsors, the build of the project could actually start on 15.01.2013. Please follow the build blog for updates on the build!
The R/C TX component is based on modules. I am planning to use the FrSky DHT module which is especially for integration in user projects. Another possible option would be to cut a matching rectangular hole into the UxV-CS' enclosure e.g. for JR compatible modules. The main board could be taken from a cheap chinese radio, e.g. the Turnigy 9x, but I am planning for the ERSKY9x board. The ERSKY9x board is a third party board which was developed as an improved replacement board for the 9x radios. It features a much more powerful CPU and runs Open9x firmware.
Instead of the usual R/C-joysticks, the UxV-CS will have 3-axis joysticks which pushbuttons. Additionally, a linear slide potentiometer and several switches are planned on the TX side.
The mission control component will be based on an Arduino Mega 2560 with a 40x4 character LC-display. Alternatively, a 480x272 TFT display could be used. When using the 40x4 LCD, the Arduino will feature "softbuttons" with changing functions as well as a 4x4 matrix keyboard for data entry. Those will be complemented by mission-related switches and an external joystick module for camera operations. Also, a mini thermal printer will be integrated e.g. for adhoc printing of GPS coordinates in SAR missions. For communications, the 3DR 433MHz modules are planned.