In 2009, the Santa Cruz Low-cost UAV GNC System (SLUGS) was implemented at the Autonomous Systems Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Cruz. SLUGS is a full-featured, open source autopilot that is available under an MIT open source license.
The autopilot system fits a very precise niche in UAV research, setting it apart from other open source autopilots; SLUGS is the first known UAV guidance system designed to be rapidly reconfigurable, easily extendable and research oriented. The unique benefits of SLUGS are made possible through the use of MATLAB/Simulink for flight code, Lubin Kerhuel's dsPIC blockset for code generation, and a three-tier testing method: simulation, hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) and flight.
Documentation, Deployment and Extension of a Versatile and Rapidly Reconfigurable UAV GNC Research Platform by Samuel Lee Toepke
Currently, SLUGS has several problems: a steep learning curve, assumption of inherent knowledge and scattered hardware. This investigation's purpose is to reduce these challenges, and to make SLUGS accessible to a CE/EE/CS engineer. The goals are to have SLUGS completely tested, documented, and deployed. Ideally, a student can become familiar with the system in a small amount of time, and use SLUGS for effective UAV research.
The methodology will include application of software engineering principles such as unit testing, documentation and revision control.
In addition, SLUGS will be extended by adding a custom designed airframe to its stable of flyable planes. This will be done using software that computes the stability derivatives for the new airframe. The derivatives will then be fed into the MATLAB/Simulink blocks that make up the autopilot code.