Cameras and Gimbals

Copter, Plane and Rover support up to 3-axis gimbals, including advance features like automated aiming of the camera at a Region of Interest (ROI), and automatic triggering of a camera shutter. This article explains how to configure gimbals and shutter triggering based on your hardware setup.


Gimbals and gimbal controllers

UAVs use gimbals to provide an independently controlled and stable platform for photography. ArduPilot supports both brushless direct drive gimbals (Tarot, SToRM32) that have a separate controller (providing self-stabilisation), and the increasingly-less-common servo-driven gimbals where both control and gimbal stabilisation are provided by ArduPilot.

  • Tarot Gimbal — a popular 2-axis gimbal controller and gimbal kit that is controlled using PWM signals.
  • SToRM32 Gimbal Controller — an inexpensive 3-axis brushless gimbal controller that can be used with a number of gimbals (available separately). It is controlled with MAVLink commands over a serial interface; a richer format than PWM.
  • Camera Gimbal with Servos — older-style servo-driven gimbal where ArduPilot provides both positioning and stabilisation.

Camera shutter triggering

ArduPilot allows you to configure the camera shutter output port (servo, relay). In camera mission planning you can specify when the camera shutter should trigger, or a distance that the vehicle should travel between shots.

Camera manufacturers use their own mechanisms for remote control of the camera (including its shutter). The topics explain how to configure the camera shutter, and list a number of different approaches for converting the output signal into the form expected by your particular camera: