Monday, May 28, 2007

Robotics Monday: Autopilot for a Hobby Plane

Name of Model: Autopilot
Created by: geekdad
Found at:
No picture on the links above for photos, descriptions, and videos related to this project.

Technically, the LEGO part of this project is just the autopilot (well - that camera gimbal too), and even that requires cheating in the form of a third-party sensor - but let's be honest, this is too cool of a LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT related project to pass up. This will undoubtedly be the most high-profile LEGO-based robot of the year, even if it does sit in a commercially available third-party RC plane and use quite a few other third-party components. This is still, of course, a cool project - it fits LEGO servos into the base to operate the rudder, and it uses (or will use) some tricky coding on the NXT to make all the autopilot functions work. Using Technic parts to operate a camera isn't too difficult, but it fleshes out the idea a little better too. Currently, the third-party sensor feeding data into the NXT unit is a HiTechnic compass sensor but it will be replaced with some sort of GPS interface before this project is finished.

Did I mention that this thing really flies? You can never go wrong with any self-propelled LEGO model that flies (yes - even a LEGO model of the Hindenburg would be cool if it could really fly).

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