The automations are actions that are carried out when a combination of events happen, i.e when the events are accomplished the action are done. An example of what an automation is could be a change of phase when reaching a certain altitude and speed, moving a servo when a button is clicked and many other possible combinations. In this section all the possible events and action will be explained in detail, so the user can combine them to create the automations that best suit their needs. The following figure shows the layout of the automations menu, with a column for the events and another for the actions linked to these events.
Automations (red) are a combination of events (blue) and actions (green). All actions will be performed on event or an event combination triggering. There a are some parameters that can be configured in the events and actions menu and which are applicable independently of the type of event/action configured (black).
- Delay: time between the triggering of the event and the beginning of the action.
- Time: is a value related to the automations. Indicates how much time the event has to be accomplished in order to trigger the action. For example, if an event is to be above 100 meters and the value of “Time” is 3 seconds, the platform has to be above 100 meters during at least 3 second to trigger the action.
- Periodical: this menu is used to configure actions to take place periodically during the time that the events are active.
The action can be configured to take place each certain distance or time. When using distance, the option “Vector” makes it possible to measure that distance along a direction specified by that vector. The two modes available for both time and distance are fixed delay and period. In order to explain the difference between them, the following figure is presented as an aid to the user.
Let’s consider that the system evaluates the automations each second (black line), and the automation that contains the periodical option is wanted to execute each 1.5 seconds (red line). In that case, the first action will be triggered at the second 1.5 but will be evaluated at second 2. The second time that the action is evaluated will depend on the mode: if fixed delay is selected, the evaluation of the action will be done 1.5 seconds after it was evaluated the first time, so that will be at second 3.5. On the other hand, if the mode is fixed period, the action will be evaluated 1.5 seconds after the first triggering (not evaluation) so that would be at the second 3. In the real praxis, the evaluation time for the automation is much lower than 1 second so the difference between the modes is much smaller.
An event is something that has to be accomplished to trigger the actions. When creating a new event it is possible to select its type from the following list:
- Timer: this event will check the status of the timer selected in the menu. That timer should have been configured before on the action side of another automation (Action type Periodical). For example: if it is desired to take a photo 10 seconds after the takeoff, one automation should have the event of “Phase” take off, with the correspondent “Periodical” action that will start a timer that lasts 10 seconds. Then with another automation, indicating in the event the timer created, an action is created to take a photo when the timer event is triggered.In “Timer” is selected the number that identifies the timer that is evaluated in this event.
- Alarm: when one of the elements selected in the “Add” menu fails , or when all of them are working correctly, the event is triggered. The type options are “Fail one” and “All ok”. In the “Add” pull_down menu there is a series of parameters to include in the event. A common alarm event is the “GPS Navigation Down”, that is triggered when there is not GPS signal in the autopilot.
- Polygon: the event is triggered when the aircraft is inside or outside a polygon defined in the Mission menu.
- When the event has a been labeled (“Event Name (Polygon)” in this case) and saved, it is then possible to link it to a polygon drawn on the map in the “Mission” menu. Right-clicking on the polygon will open a menu, and in Events will appear all the polygon-type events defined on the system. Click on it to link the figure and the event.
- Button: this option creates a button that will trigger the event when clicked. The visual range option is used to make the button change its color according to the value of a variable. To do that, select a variable and then indicate as many points as desired, each one with its corresponding value and color.
If a button event triggers and action that consists of a change to a determined phase, the button will be the one of the Veronte Panel with the name of that phase on it. If the button event is linked to a different action (servo movement, variable…), it will appear in the lower part of Veronte Panel with the Icon selected by the user. The Confirmation option will display a pop-up window that asks for confirmation after pushing the button, so it is a safety measure. The time control option is used to trigger the action when the button is being pushed during the time specified in this option.
- Phase: the event is triggered when the aircraft is in the phases selected by clicking on the “+” button, not in all of them at the same time, being in one of them is enough to trigger the action.
- Route: this event is related with the waypoints defined by the user in the “Mission” menu.
There are two modes in the event type. Mark achieved triggers the action when the vehicle has reached the selected waypoint, while “Flying to waypoint” triggers the action when the platform is flying towards that waypoint (is the next waypoint of the route). Clicking on 1 allows the selection of the waypoint among the ones created by the user (in this case 2 has been selected). It is possible to change the appearance of the waypoint to an image selected in the “icon” option, so the user can identify easily the waypoint linked to that automation.
- Variable: this event is triggered when the variable selected is between a range established with the “Max” and “Min” options. The variable to be evaluated is selected on “Variable”. The maximum and minimum values of the threshold have to be indicated in the respective boxes. The option invert range will change the interval (the blue area will be gray, and the gray one will be blue). As an example consider the event of the figure. With that parameters, the event is triggered when the IAS is between 5 and 20 meters per second. If the “invert range” option is unchecked, the event will be triggered when the IAS is lower that 5 m/s or greater than 20 m/s.
- Mode: the event is triggered when the aircraft is in one of the modes selected.
All the events that have been detailed before can be combined to create a custom event, using the boolean operations provided by the software (AND,OR, NOT).
When there is only one event, clicking on the boolean command (1) will create another event linked to the other one according to that operation. Right-clicking on an event and selecting “Wrap in” allows the creation of an operation as if it was inside brackets, i.e it will be evaluated first. Let’s consider the following event group as an example.
The first operation that is evaluated is the NOT, then the OR between Event2 and the result of the NOT, and finally the AND between Event1 and the result of the OR.
The following table depicts the meaning of each one of the boolean operators.
|AND||All events grouped on an AND should be accomplished simultaneously in order to activate the automation.|
|OR||One of the events in the group should be accomplished for activating the automation.|
|NOT||The event will be active meanwhile the event or event group is not accomplished.|
Automation – Event Logics
The “Actions” box contains all the actions that will be performed when the event (or group of events) has been accomplished. When creating a new action, the following types can be configured:
- Output: this action is used to set an actuator at a certain position.
The desired output is selected in the menu, and then a set of points with the time and value of the actuator can be indicated with the button “+”. Taking the previous figure as an example, when the action is triggered a series of commands are sent to the output s5. In this case, this pin is connected to a camera, which takes a photo when the trigger is active during 0.5 seconds. On the other hand, if the output pin has been configured as GPIO (visit section ), the possible output signals to be commanded are a continuous on or off pulse, and a limited on and off pulse, whose time is set by the user.
- Go to: this action is used to make the aircraft go to a patch (or waypoint if it is alone) of the route created by the user in “Mission”.
Clicking in 1 allows the user to select a waypoint on the map (2 for example). Once the action is triggered, the vehicle will go to that patch (or waypoint). If the patch is on a route, the vehicle will follow the selected patch and then it will continue the route going to its adjacent. On the other hand, if the option “Go to next” is selected, once the event is accomplished the aircraft will forget about the current path that is following and it will go to the next one. If the event happens again it will “jump” another patch and go to the following. For example, considering the route that appears in the previous figure, if the automation “Go to next” is triggered by a button, when the aircraft is in the first patch (the one that starts on the green waypoint) and the button is pressed it will go to the next curved patch. If the button is pressed again before reaching that patch, the aircraft will go to the next straight line (parallel to the first one) without going over the curved patch.
- Terrain obstacle: this option is used to make the aircraft climb when is reaching an altitude of zero meters, for example, when flying towards a mountain. This option is not activated all the time because it will not allow the aircraft to land.
- The parameter “Distance” establish the height at which the aircraft will begin
- Select Arcade Axis: the axes system of the aircraft is changed to one that has been previously created in the “Arcade Axis” option inside the “Control” menu (6.4.5).
- Navigation: this action is used to change the navigation mode used by the aircraft. By default, the UAV uses a sensor fusion EKF algorithm, but for example, if the GPS falls, this algorithm produces bad results so it would be convenient to change to another type if that happens (AHRS). The navigation without GPS will make the aircraft fly stable but it will not be possible to command a path to follow during that time, so it can be used as a safety mode to avoid a malfunction of the system when the GPS signal is lost.
- Phase: the flight phase is changed to the one selected in this action.
- User Log: an entry is added to the log on board.
- Run operation: an operation previously defined in “Variables/System Variables/Operations” is carried out.
- Arcade trim: this action trims the radio controller, i.e sets as zero the current sticks positions. How to configure this automation is detailed in “Devices/Stick/Stick” section.
- Periodical: this action is used to set a timer during a flight operation.
The first parameter is an identifier for the timer, so it can be used in an event for another automation. In order to explain the other parameters of the timer action, a set of examples will be detailed, each of them with different options.
- Run + Distance/Time + Continuous: when the action is triggered, the timer will be started and will measure distance/time from that instant until the moment when the autopilot is turned off (or until another automation acts on the same timer).
- Run + Distance/Time + Fixed Delay/Period: once the action has been triggered, the timer will start to measure a distance/time. Each time the value indicated in “Period” is reached, the event linked to this timer will be triggered. For example, if the user wants to take a photo each 25 meters, the timer should have Distance in the Type option and 25 meters in Period, then in another automation, an event of type Timer is created, so each time the timer reaches 25 meters the event will be triggered and the action will be carried out
- Distance + Vector: the distance is measured in the direction indicated by the vector.
- Stop: the timer will be stopped. Another automation should be created to run it again.
- Reset: when this action is active, the timer is reset to zero before starting to measure. If the reset is used with Stop, the timer will be stopped and set back to zero.
- Change active sensor: this option allows the change of the sensor used as accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer, between the internal and external ones. It is also possible to disable the selected sensor.
- Mode: the flight mode is changed to the one specified in this option.
- Track: the track action is used to configure a hover/loiter route (depending if it is a multicopter or an airplane) for the platform. Besides, there exists an option to fly the aircraft by the movement of a camera installed on it (fly “By cam”).
The three different options of the Track action are:
- Disabled: the action has no effect on the platform guidance.
- Position: the aircraft will loiter/hover in a selected point. Selecting “Current” will make the platform to hover over the position that the vehicle has when this action is triggered, or loiter around that point in a circular route with a radius indicated in “Distance”. It is also possible to select the direction of the loiter (Auto, Clockwise and Anticlockwise). On the other hand, the box highlighted in the figure allows the user to select the point where the hover/loiter will be made.
- By Cam: the direction of flight is controlled by the movement of a camera.
- Let’s consider that there is a virtual stick on the workspace that controls the movement of a gimbal that contains the camera. The horizontal movement of the stick that controls the yaw axis of the gimbal will act directly on the yaw axis of the aircraft. Considering that the longitudinal axis of camera and vehicle are lined up, the aircraft will point all the time to the same direction as the camera. On the other hand, the vertical movement of the stick will control the vertical axis of the gimbal. When the direction of the gimbal intersects with the ground, the vehicle will stop (or loiter) when being at a certain distance away from that intersection point (that distance is indicated by the user in “Distance”). If the vehicle is hovering because the distance is reached, once the gimbal vertical axis is risen again the vehicle will move again in the direction indicated by the gimbal. The following figure explains what has been said in this paragraph.
- Custom TX: when this action is triggered, a previously configured message is sent trough the serial port of the autopilot. The message has to be configured in “Custom messages” (188.8.131.52).
The two parameters to configure in this action are the type of serial port (SCIA, SCIB) and the message that will be sent (from the ones configured in the TX tab of “Custom messages”).
Right-clicking on an automation makes it possible to remove it or to clone it. When a clone of an automation is created, the changes made in the event panel will be applied to the other one and vice versa, while the actions can be different in each automation.
When entering a new Event or Action it is possible to choose from one of the previously created on the system or to create a new one. Once created it is possible to configure it on the panel below. Common configuration options are:
|Select an action or event from the available in the system.|
When modifying an action or event it will be modified in all automations where it is in use.
|Clone an existing action or event creating a new one with same parameters configured on the start point.|
Automation Configuration Options