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Researchers have designed, built, and tested the world’s smallest open source autopilot for small unmanned aircraft. A smaller and lighter autopilot — weighing only 1.9 grams — allows these small flying robots to fly longer, fit into narrower spaces, or carry more payloads such as cameras.

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Researcher Bart Remes and his team of the Micro Aerial Vehicle Laboratory at the TU Delft faculty of Aerospace Engineering have designed, built, and tested the world’s smallest open source autopilot for small unmanned aircraft. A smaller — and lighter — autopilot allows these small flying robots to fly longer, fit into narrower spaces, or carry more payloads such as cameras. This makes them more suitable to be used, for example, rescue operations.

A Delft University of Technology release reports that the world’s smallest autopilot for micro aerial vehicles — small flying robots that can be used in safety and rescue operations — is called Lisa/S. It weighs 1.9 grams, more than 30 grams less than its predecessor. The autopilot measures 2 cm by 2 cm.

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Remes, the project manager at the Micro Aerial Vehicle Laboratory, says: “We programmed new software, Superbitrf, which keeps the autopilot connected to a ground station and a normal RC transmitter at the same time.”

Small UAVAccording to HLS News Wire this combination of functions made it possible to miniaturize the autopilot. Making the autopilot smaller and lighter allows a micro aerial vehicle to stay up in the air longer and carry heavier cameras and sensors. This makes it easier to use MAVs in for example search and rescue operations.


The research team has chosen to develop Lisa/s open source to make it possible for users to test it and come up with suggestions for improvement. Making all the details available online also helps to make MAVs easily accessible for all.