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I am new to the world of drones and UAVs. While there are a ton of resources available online for quad-copters and multi-copters in general, I am really struggling with finding resources on helicopters.

Specifically I wanted to know if there are existing autopilot systems for RC helicopters. Now I am not interested in large helicopters. What I want to work on is modifying helicopters like Blade Nano S3 or Blade 70S i.e helicopters that are no larger than my palm.

I found some Discontinued autopilots on 1bitsquared i.e Lisa/S developed by TU Delft and Elle0. I don't need anything necessarily fancy, just the very basic autopilot stuff but I need it to be configurable so that I can use my own GPS system or program the MCU with some additional routines using Arduino or easy to program ecosystems. It should be configurable in some way so to speak.

Since whatever I found seems to be discontinued I do not expect to find good support for it and hence I do not want to waste time reinventing the wheel.

Are there basic autopilots out there that I can use to replace the existing flight controller on the Blade Helicopters and add a few more functionality to them like FPV and custom GPS telemetry?

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  • $\begingroup$ This is coming from a place of ignorance on my part, but: does the size of the helicopter matter to the autopilot? Are you looking for a nano-specific autopilot because you tried other autopilots and they didn't work? If so, which ones did you try what problems did you have? $\endgroup$
    – Chuck
    Jul 9 at 15:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Chuck No no not at all...you raised a valid point....i probably should have explained better. I haven't tried anything yet. Still in the research phase. Think of nano helicopter as a constraint. So accordingly I cannot have something too heavy. I am even open to making my autopilot with flight controller if that is possible. $\endgroup$
    – jar
    Jul 9 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ If that's the case then I would encourage you to try any autopilot and see what results you get. I would think that, as long as the layout is appropriate, you should be able to get acceptable performance out of any autopilot. By layout I mean, for a helicopter, one main rotor and one tail rotor vs. two main rotors, etc. $\endgroup$
    – Chuck
    Jul 9 at 15:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Chuck Okay. Do you know of a few examples of easy to use, beginner friendly and easily customizable autopilots and flight controllers for one main motor and one tail rotor based helicopter? I mean I also wanted to what options I had since the ones I mentioned above are discontinued. $\endgroup$
    – jar
    Jul 9 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ No, I don't have any recommendations, sorry. $\endgroup$
    – Chuck
    Jul 9 at 17:50

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