Small, unmanned aerial vehicles (small UAVs or drones) are often used to take aerial photos and videos. Gimbals are used in drones to allow for the rotation and stabilization of the mounted camera. The vast majority of gimbals are driven by brushless DC electric motors (BLDC motors) and include a gimbal control unit.
In the first part of my thesis I outline the characteristics of Brushless DC motors and the features of the commercially available gimbal controllers. These motor position controllers determine the orientation of the camera typically by using an IMU (Inertial measurement unit). After a few minutes, the measurement may become inaccurate, which may cause malfunctions. However, the exact orientation and position of the aircraft is known by the autopilot at all times.
The main goal of this project is to develop an embedded gimbal controller software whose controlling motor position is based on the data provided by the autopilot. In my thesis I present the features that are needed in a gimbal controller operating in this particular structure as well as the way they have been implemented in the software.
For testing, I have assembled a gimbal system, for which I have used development boards available to me. I have taken some measurements, which are presented in the thesis. The designing and tuning of the position controller have also been based on the results of the analysis. The long-term accuracy of gimbal applications can be guaranteed by the implemented system.