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Rubytm Capabilities

Here are some of Ruby's current capabilities:

Fly by wire / Aided mode / Training Wheels
Autonomous loiter
Autonomous landing
Panic Button
Automatic Preflight Check

Ruby's hardware is designed for expandability. The current firmware only begins to tap its potential.
Major additional capabilities will be available to you in coming months via new modules and free downloadable firmware upgrades.

Limitations

cruise control depiction"Fly-by-wire" / aided mode

Instead of controlling the plane's control surfaces directly, you can engage "aided" mode and simply tell Ruby what you want the plane to do by moving your transmitter controls intuitively. Ruby can take care of airspeed, altitude, pitch, roll, heading or turn rate for you, or let you control or "nudge" any or all of in a simplified way. It's a kind of "cruise control".

For instance, holding the aileron halfway to the right holds the plane in a 30 degree right bank regardless of turbulence or other disturbances. Holding the stick all the way to the left holds the plane in a 60 degree left bank. Letting go of the stick levels the wings and locks the plane on current heading.

Likewise, holding the elevator forward tells Ruby to maintain an airspeed above normal cruising speed, and pulling it all the way back slows it down to just above stall. Pushing the throttle all the way forward tells Ruby to maintain current altitude using the throttle as necessary.

training wheelsUsing aided mode with altitude hold means that child with no prior experience can steer the plane around the sky intuitively without having to worry about hitting the ground, regardless of what he/she does with the right stick. Ruby will apply or reduce throttle as needed during maneuvers to stay within feet of locked altitude. This is what we mean by "training wheels".

This is not just for beginners, however. It can be indispensable to expert pilots in situations such as degraded visual contact, fatigue from turbulence or instability, uncertainty about airspeed, difficult launching or landing, distraction, or an itchy nose.

For instance, if you find that you are no longer able to make out the orientation of your airplane and can only see a "speck", you can use aided mode to guide it back to better visual range using aided mode, moving just the aileron slightly to perform turns, leaving the elevator centered to maintain best cruise speed, and keeping throttle all the way forward to tell Ruby to use as much throttle as needed to maintain altitude. Even if the plane is being bounced by turbulence, you can simply hold the stick still knowing that Ruby will keep restoring it quickly to the desired bank, airspeed, and altitude.

By managing airspeed and stabilizing roll and pitch, Ruby also makes landing easier for experts and beginners, especially in gusty wind.

While this mode does not support acrobatic flight, upcoming free firmware upgrades will include variations of aided mode including one that allows direct control of pitch, one that behaves like a traditional gyro stabilizer to control pitch and roll rates rather than absolute values, and perhaps a "cheater" mode or two for performing fun acrobatic stunts.

circular ground track with 75ft radius, 5kt wind merlin 10-11-13 20:46:49.933 UTC
Ruby loitering a Multiplex Merlin in a
75 foot radius circle at 15 knot airspeed in 5 knot wind.

Autonomous Loiter

You can tell Ruby to loiter your aircraft at a fixed altitude at its current location, or to return to "home" and loiter.

This is particularly useful if you lose sight of your plane completely or something distracts you.

In light wind, Ruby will orbit the target in a nearly perfect circle. In heavier wind, Ruby will pace back and forth perpendicular to wind in a line centered on the target. In wind stronger than target airspeed, Ruby will increase airspeed as necessary to enable it to hover directly over target.

Loiter can be invoked by moving a designated switch on your transmitter. It also automatically engages if the airborne receiver loses signal.

 

 
circular ground track with 75ft radius, 5kt wind merlin 10-11-13 20:46:49.933 UTC
Ruby loitering and landing a "Hellbat" acrobatic plane.
(click to enlarge)

Autonomous Landing

Without human intervention, Ruby can land a plane consistently on a narrow runway, even in crosswind. It intelligently manages landing pattern and glideslope to minimize overshoot or undershoot.

If remote control contact is lost and cannot be reestablished for some reason such as dead transmitter battery, Ruby will initially return to home location and loiter. Once the battery becomes low, Ruby will automatically enter landing mode.

See a video of fully autonomous landing in strong crosswind [here].

panic button cameoPanic Button

When in manual mode, Ruby stays out of the way and lets you control the plane directly. You're free to do anything, including get into trouble. Flipping the switch to engage aided or autonomous mode will cause Ruby to immediately assist or assume control and quickly act to bring the plane to desired roll, pitch, and airspeed. Even if your plane happens to in a steep inverted dive with runaway airspeed. Unless invoked too close to the ground, Ruby can probably save your plane.

When pulling out of dives, Ruby doesn't just "yank back on the stick". It manages wing load to ensure that structural or accelerated stall limits aren't exceeded. If pulling out of a dive close to the ground, Ruby progressively pushes that load limit as the ground gets closer, betting that it's better to risk overloading the wing than hit the ground.

 

Automatic Preflight Check

On the ground, you can tell Ruby to wave control surfaces to indicate whether or not all systems are ready for flight. Rudder and aileron to the right say "don't fly!" because, for instance, the battery is too low or the control signal is too weak. Wagging to the left says "proceed with caution" because the battery is getting low, or GPS has lost its signal or some other sensor that Ruby depends upon is compromised. Elevator wagged up and down says "All OK to fly."

Limitations

Range

Ruby does not limit flight range when flying under aided or manual control.

In event of control signal loss or panic switch activation, Ruby will return the aircraft to home location from several miles range.

Ruby has a factory programmed 1km for fully autonomous waypoints. Please contact support@uthere.com if you need longer range and have a suitable remote location.


Use by Children

While Ruby makes it possible for small children to steer aircraft, all use of model aircraft by children should be supervised by an adult , regardless of whether or not Ruby is installed. For first time and younger children pilots, it's recommended that an adult perform launch and landing and give control to child only when at loiter altitude. See warnings.

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