This guide will show you all of the features of the gluonpilot control station (GluonCS) so that you can easily create complex missions for your autopilot.
Before you try your first autonomous mission it is highly recommended that you are familiar with your UAV aircraft and confident your gluonpilot is configured correctly. See our other guides for more details on configuring your Gluonpilot module
To plan gluonpilot missions you use the gluon control station software to do this. The GluonCS is a powerful PC application that can be used to configure/ update your gluonpilot module, the software is also used to plan your gluonpilot missions via a point and click map interface. You also use the GluonCS software for monitoring and changing your mission in real-time if you are using wireless telemetry which is an optional expansion board.
This section will go over the main sections of the GluonCS interface
Map Screen - this displays a map of the area you are working in, the maps are downloaded from the internet but if you are working offline the program will load the maps from the cache. You can choose which maps to load from the options menu (File>General Options)
General Options - This menu allows you to configure the general settings of the GluonCS program. You can give your UAV a name, specify the default waypoint altitude, and radius. On the Map tab you can choose the map type, and change the cache or proxy settings.
UAV Information - This screen shows you all of the UAV information like the attitude (artificial horizon), battery, GPS, and telemetry link status. Other sensor information is shown like ground speed, altitude. The list of mission blocks are also shown, with the active bock highlighted.
Navigation - This section shows you all of the information of the GluonPilot mission. A list of commands are shown, each in a mission block. The current command is highlighted. To add/edit a command simply double click on a command/ empty command. Alternatively you can right click on the map and add a waypoint command at the desired location.
Edit Command Window - This window allows you to change the parameters of a command, a drop-down list of all the available commands allows you to quickly select the relevant command. The parameters of each command vary. This window also contains built in help describing how you can use each type of command.
Absolute or Relative Waypoints
When you plan your mission, you can specify either Absolute, or Relative waypoints.
Relative Waypoints are waypoints that are based on the distance from your home location. The home location is the position the autopilot records when you turn on your gluonpilot for your mission. This home location is saved each time you turn on your gluonpilot and a GPS lock is obtained and will change automatically if you are flying in a new area/ position. These relative waypoints are very useful if you want to fly a general mission over and over from different locations. For example, you can fly a grid pattern of a 500m square around your home location for use with aerial photography or surveying work, this is useful as you do not need to re-program the mission each time you move to a new location.
Absolute Waypoints are waypoints that are based on actual GPS co-ordinates irrespective of your home location. This means that if you set a waypoint with absolute waypoints your UAV will fly to that position which is fixed on the earth no matter where you start. So if you specify some absolute waypoints around your flying field, your UAV will try to fly to those exact waypoint locations no matter where your home position is.
Adding a Waypoint
The most simple way to add a waypoint to gluonpilot is to right click on the map where you want to add a waypoint, and then select if you want a absolute or relative waypoint.
You can then edit the waypoint by dragging it to a new position, or double clicking the waypoint you want to edit (either on the map, or on the navigation section) This will open the waypoint parameters screen, allowing you to edit the waypoint as shown below.
Before we can plan our first mission it is important to know about the different types of waypoints and commands that you can use with Gluonpilot.
There are 5 main categories of commands: Structure, Waypoints, Conditional, Servo, Loiter.
Structure - The structure category is what is used to divide your mission into blocks, and also tell the autopilot when to move between each of the mission blocks.
Waypoints - The waypoints category contains all of the traditional waypoint commands like fly to a point, circle a point etc…
Conditional - As the name suggests there are commands that are based upon a condition being met, for example you can set the autopilot to land automatically if the battery voltage falls below a certain value.
Servo - These commands are used to control your servos on your UAV, you can also use these commands to trigger servos to open a parachute, or trigger a camera to take a photo.
A the description of each of the individual commands are shown in the table below
Saving waypoints to GluonPilot
Once you are happy with your mission, you must remember to burn the waypoints to your UAV. This is done in the navigation section by clicking UAV>Write (to save temporarily while power is on) or UAV>Burn to Flash to save the mission if you power the module off.
The AutoSync button will automatically save the mission to your Gluonpilot module in real-time.
You can also save or open the mission on your computer by selecting File>Save or File>Open in the navigation section.
More information about some of the special features of the GluonCS will be in a future guide. These can be for things such as automatically taking photos, and planning complex missions with multiple blocks, including automatic take-off and landing.