Jessica Hall: QGroundControl: Ground Station for Land, Water and Air Autonomous Vehicles

Student's Name: 
Jessica Hall
Advisor's Name: 
Gabriel Elkaim
Home University: 
University of Reno Nevada
PDF icon Hall_surfit12_report.pdf17.85 KB
Jessica Hall is a senior majoring in Computer Science at the University of Nevada Reno. She spent the summer of 2012 working 
in the Autonomous Systems Lab under the supervision of Professor Gabriel Elkaim and Graduate Adviser Bryant Mairs. 
A problem that arises from developing autonomous and remote vehicles is the question of how to communicate with the vehicle. 
The user needs to be able to send it instructions, gather data from it, or control it in an emergency. This is the role of 
ground stations such as QGroundControl (QGC) which is designed to be fast and capable of running on a variety of platforms and 
support many vehicles simultaneously whether they travel by land, water, or air. 
This project focused on improving QGC from both a usability and code development standpoint. 
This included fixing outstanding issues, improving existing unit tests, and extending documentation. 
Due to the open-source nature of QGC many of its users had filed bugs which outstripped developer support. Jessica worked on some of 
the issues which had been filed which improved the performance of QGC. Unit tests are used to test the code to make certain that it is
functioning correctly. Jessica fixed the existing unit test framework which had not been working. Unit tests are of critical importance as 
these vessels can cost several thousands of dollars and code that does not work correctly could damage the vessels. Documentation was 
added to help make it easier for developers to continue to improve QGC.