UAV Module/Ground Station

Hey all,

I am a senior college student majoring in Computer Engineering and part of the requirements for graduation is to complete a senior design project.

So last semester my group was assigned to design and implement a modular UAV control unit and ground station that talks to this control unit. I call it modular because the idea is to be able to just drop in the control unit, connect the appropriate servos for flight control and fly.

The scope of this project does not include designing or building the UAV, but rather just designing the inner workings.

I'm reaching out to you all here because his project started Fall 2014 and we only have a couple months left and we have absolutely nothing to show.

I've done a lot of research on the subject and this idea is to put something together like this:

but since the objective of the project is to design this system, we can't just buy the stuff and put it together.


Which board would be an appropriate board for this project?

I plan on using these: XBee Pro 60mW Wire Antenna - Series 1 (802.15.4) - WRL-08742 - SparkFun Electronics for the wireless.

We will also need to transmit a live video feed, (quality not important) and relevant flight data such as GPS, gyro, airspeed.

You can imagine my desperation, so ANY advice or nudge in the right direction is very appreciated.

Hi, I think I understand that this is more a proof of concept project(PoC).
Build the two control units and get them talking and providing output suitable for the UAV servos etc. So no flying or weight constraints.
The Xbee, I’m not sure of the range but should be ok for PoC.
Any video processing, forget as the controllers are no way fast enough or have the bandwidth in the Xbee.

I’m no UAV expert so I hope someone else picks this thread up.
You thread subject should attract the necessary members.

Tom… :slight_smile:

Check out iforce2d’s videos on Youtube, specifically his cheap-ass quadcopter project. He uses a couple of cheap nRF24L01 transceivers and Arduino Pro Minis to control a quadcopter. He got a surprising amount of range with the nRF24L01, enough that I didn’t hesitate to buy a bunch of them (and then forgot that I bought them and ordered a bunch more).

The nRF24L01 is reasonably cheap, as are the Arduino Pro Minis. We’re talking less than $20 for everything you would need…not that you would actually have to obtain them. They are quite easy to get running as well. From opening my mail, it took me about 90 minutes to get a few Pro Minis blinking LEDs on and off in a coordinated fashion.

If you want more range, the 433Mhz Hope transceivers might be more interesting. The RFM69CW is on the low end and supports encryption (might be important depending on the UAV application). On the high end, the RFM22 and RFM23BP could reach out many kilometers.