UAV Hardware Systems


**Autopilot/Flight Controller** The autopilot/flight controller is responsible for managing the flight dynamics and mission related goals. We will be using the LisaMX autopilot.

**Motors** Electronic and fuel based motors are used in the powering of UAVs. The choice of motor size and type is directly correlated to the kind of missions planned for the UAV.

Motor Controller

**Motor Controllers** Motor controllers, also called electronic speed controllers(ESC), are responsible for managing the rotation speed of an electric motor. Usually there is one ESC per electric motor.

**Propellers** Propellers provide the thrust for lifting/propelling an aircraft. Usually there is one propeller per motor.

Telemetry Radios

**Telemetry/Datalink Radios & Antennas** The aircraft and ground station share telemetry and data via a pair of radio modems. Telemetry radios commonly communicate in the following frequency bands: 433 mhz, 915 mhz, and 2.4 ghz. Secure telemetry links are possible through the use of SMACCM-SiK 3DR Radio Firmware

**Safety Link: RC Transmitter & Receiver** A traditional radio control transmitter and receiver pair is used to provide a manual control option for the UAV as well as a safety link during autonomous flight.

**Battery** The battery or batteries supply power to all electronic systems on the aircraft. The type and sizing of the battery is directly related to the needs of the motors and speed controllers as well as any payload or flight time considerations.

Global Positioning System

**GPS Receiver** A global positioning system receiver, GPS, is required for UAV localization. It is used in the autonomous navigation stages of flight control to enable waypoint navigation, as well as to supplement Attitude Heading and Reference System (AHRS) state estimates (especially in fixed-wing aircraft).

**Servos** Servos are needed to actuate the various flight control surfaces for fixed-wing, VTOL aircraft and some rotorcraft. Rotorcraft with four or more motors, typically, do not require servos.

Optical Flow Sensor

**Other Sensors** In addition to the sensors integrated into an autopilot, a UAV might need other sensors to successfully navigate or collect information; these might include, LiDAR, SONAR, and Optical Flow Sensors.

**Payload** Sometimes a UAV will need to carry a payload as part of it's mission. Common payloads include cameras and video transmitters.

**Ground Computer** A laptop with good battery life is useful as a ground computer. Typically the ground computer is used to monitor all UAV via ground control station, GCS, software.