The automations are the mechanisms used to perform an action when some event is verified (using the Boolean Logic AND, OR and NOT tools). These actions could be a change from one phase to another, taking a photo, dropping a payload and so on. In this section, the following automation types will be detailed:
- Veronte Panel buttons
- Phase changing
- Failsafe (link-off, power low, GoHome point)
Veronte Panel Buttons
Phase Change Button
The first automations to be created are the ones linked to the buttons of Veronte Panel. When clicking one of these buttons the phase is changed to the one shown on the button label. The image below shows the Standby Button automation.
Standby button automation
Normally, besides the button event, a safety condition is added to the automation, which consists on letting only the system to change to a phase when being in a certain set of phases. It is only necessary to create an “AND” condition with the phases to change from. For example, in this case, the set of phases is shown in the following image.
In the previous figure, the automation is the change to takeoff when clicking on Veronte panel, being on Standby. This process is normally repeated for the rest of phases.
There are other types of button which can be created on the Veronte Panel. In this case will be detailed the Hover Button which allows performing a hover (only for multicopters, for airplanes could be set a loiter point) on the point of the map exactly when the linked button is pushed. The images below show the automation set.
Button Icon selection
Hover button defining
Takeoff to Climb change
The change from the take off to the climbing phase, in this case, occurs when the IAS of the airplane on the runway is greater than 8 m/s. The phase condition is set on Takeoff phase and the action is defined to pass in Climbing phase.
Takeoff to climb automation
Climbing to Cruise change
This kind of phase change is normally performed when a certain altitude is reached. In this case, the airplane changes to the “Cruise” phase where it starts to follow the path determined by the user. As a safety condition, the change will only happen when having a speed greater than 6 meters per second.
Climbing to cruise change definition
The AGL to the change of phase is 90 meters. Both the velocity and altitude are specified through an event of type “Variable”.
Landing to Flare change
The change from the landing to flare phase is performed when the aircraft is above the runway and about to touch the ground. This idea is implemented with a set of three events:
- AGL: the aircraft is below a certain altitude, in this case, 8 meters.
- Inside Polygon: Mentor enters in a polygon defined in the map on the runway head.
- Landing Phase: the aircraft is landing phase.
When these events are fulfilled, airplane enters in the Flare phase and lands.
Failsafe automations (Radio, Battery, GPS)
When the radio connection from the ground station to Veronte Air is lost, the aircraft is forced to change to auto mode and landing phase.
Failsafe for radio link-off
When the value of the flag that evaluates the TX or RX error (“TX Packet Error Rate (on board”) has a value of 1 (0.8 is established for safety), and the aircraft is in a certain phase (climb and cruise), it is forced to land.
When the battery is below a certain level (15.2 Volts in this case), and the aircraft is in climb or cruise, it is automatically commanded to land.
Failsafe for low battery
GPS Signal Lost
When the UAV is not receiving the GPS signal, the system automatically adapts the navigation algorithm to avoid a possible accident by obtaining the aircraft attitude trough the AHRS reference system. Besides that, it is also needed that the aircraft changes to a flight phase where the control is made over the attitude angles instead of position variables (heading, flight path). This phase is commonly known as “HOLD”, which has a guidance to keep pitch, roll and IAS at a certain value, and with PIDs in pitch and roll having two blocks for that angles and its rates.
The event of this fail safe automation will be the loss of GPS signal (type alarm), while the action is type phase (Hold).
The Home Point is defined in order to have the opportunity to change the aircraft behavior and force it to return in a safe flight condition. Normally, this condition is a Hover (multirotors) or a Loiter (airplanes) and both can be referred to a single point.
First of all, the point has to be defined on the map (Mission tab), then is possible to create the following automation.
GoHome point on map and in the Panel
In this case, two different automations have to be set. The first one is called GoHome Auto and it is configured in order to make the system pass to Auto mode and Cruise phase (the go home is a “go to” action and it can be performed in a Cruise Guidance only).
GoHome to Auto/Cruise
The second one is called GoHome and it is a copy of GoHome Auto Events and a “go to” Action which will be performed with a little delay (0.5 seconds in this case). This is a safety condition set to avoid the “go to” before the Auto-Cruise change.
GoHome Action set
In the photogrammetry missions, the platform is wanted to take photos during the time that it is following a path previously defined. Commonly, the photo taking process begins at a certain location over the route and is repeated each certain distance. To create this automation the process detailed now has to be followed.
Create an “Event Marker” at the point where the photogrammetry mission has to start.
That “Event Marker” has then to be linked with an event that will trigger the process.
The event is type “Route” (1) and will be triggered when the point is reached (2) (the other option is when flying towards the point). If the event is linked with a waypoint instead of an Event Marker, the point is selected in the map with button (3). Finally, with the event created in the automation menu, double-clicking in the event marker allows to link this one to it.
The last step is to create the actions to be performed when the event is triggered.
When the point is reached, a timer starts to measure the distance between the locations at which a photo will be taken. The timer action has the following parameters: 1 is the type of action (Periodical), 2 is the number to identify the timer, 3 indicates the action to perform on the target (Run or Stop), 4 indicated that the timer measures distance (the other option is time), and finally the last option indicates that the distance measured is a fixed value (25 meters in this case).
The last step of this process is the creation of an automation to take the photos when the timer is accomplished.
In the event type select “Timer” and the number of the one previously created. When the distance established is reached, this event will be triggered, and then the action of taking a photo will be done.
The action type (1) is Output, which is used to send a signal trough one of the output pins of Veronte. In (2) is selected the actuator that is connected to the camera (or with the device that is controlled with this automation). Finally, in (3) are indicated the values of the PWM signal at each time instant.
This automation changes the control mode according to the command sent by the radio controller.
Stick Auto automation
In this case, the channel that controls the mode is the 8, so according to its value the mode is changed. With an event of type “Variable” the automation is defined. The process is the same for the manual mode, but when the r8 variable has a value lower than 0.25.
Automatic Landing (multicopters)
If the user wants the multicopter stops the motors when landed (pass to Standby automatically), it is possible to configure an automation which performs this action.
Normally, to control the automatic landing, the following variables are used:
- Ground Speed Down
- AGL (Above ground level altitude)
- Thrust control
- Landing current phase
Landing auto configuration
Variable values must be chosen depending on multicopter (rotor number, dimensions, altitude sensors, etc…) and an integral control increase can be taken into account in order to perform a faster RPM descending and a better landing.