Archive for the ‘Multirotors’ Category

Painting with drones

December 27th, 2016 No comments

The purpose of this project was to come up with an interactive demonstration for the Pygmalion Festival 2016 at UIUC. The end result was a demo where an Android device was given to the visitors, each visitor could then draw any continuous path on the Android device. The x,y-coordinates would then be uploaded to the cloud and a trajectory based on Bézier curves would be generated using a Python script. Finally ROS was used to control a small drone. Camera software was then used to highlight the brightest light in the scene, in this case a LED on the drone. This resulted in the path being visualised in 3D-space.

An overview of the project can be seen in figure below. The Android application is used as a simply user interface. The path drawn is then uploaded to Dropbox and a trajectory is generated using a Python script.

Project overview

Project overview

Finally the drone flies the trajectory. A short video of the project can be seen below:

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Vision-based emergency landing system for indoor drones (using FPGA)

At 4th semester of my bachelor at Aalborg University me and my project partner became a part of a new research project, UAWorld (DRONER RYKKER INDENDØRS MED DANSK TEKNOLOGI). A project aiming for developing a new infrastructure and a set of drones capable of being used in indoor industrial environments with dynamically changing obstacles (and layout) and human beings likely to walk around. The drones within the project is intended to carry assembly line goods around an assembly line hall into a warehouse where it will be autonomously offloaded.

UAWorld usecase

UAWorld usecase

The main research group within the project had already taken several decisions regarding the drone typology, which indoor positioning system to use and which wireless communication to use. But being dependent on these systems (positioning and wireless link) to reliably navigate a mission critical environment, making sure that the drone would never drop the goods or crash into human beings even at emergency situations, is just as an important task as making the quadcopter navigate safely.

For download links to the report and source code, please scroll to the bottom of the post. Further videos of the project undergoing development can also be found in the bottom of the post.
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Bachelor’s Thesis: LaunchPad Flight Controller

I recently got my bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. As I wrote in an earlier blog post I decided to implement a custom flight controller on a Tiva C Series TM4C123G LaunchPad for my project.

Currently it supports several different modes including acro/rate mode, self level mode, heading hold and altitude hold. Below is a series of videos demonstrating the different modes:

The source is available on Github: as usual including the report I wrote.

I would really recommend anyone that is interested in this sort of thing to read through it for a deeper understanding on the fundamental theory and how it is implemented on a flight controller in practice.

It consists of three parts. The first part presents a theoretical model and the equations used to estimate the attitude and altitude of the quadcopter. The second part describes how the system is implemented on the microcontroller and lists the hardware used for the project.

The final part measures the performance of the flight controller by logging the data in real time. This data is then compared to the simulated results based on a theoretical model simulated using Simulink.

Flight modes

In total there are four different flight modes supported by the flight controller. The first one is acro/rate mode, which only uses the gyroscope to stabilise the quadcopter. This mode is mainly used for advanced pilots and acrobatic manoeuvres. In this mode the aileron and elevator stick inputs indicate the desired rotation rate of the quadcopter. Thus, if the user wants the quadcopter to rotate fast clockwise along its roll axis the aileron input can be put all the way to the right.

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LaunchPad Flight Controller

January 23rd, 2015 8 comments

As some of you might know I have been studying in San Francisco the last semester at San Francisco State University. For that reason I have not done as much as development as I usually do, due to all my equipment being back in Denmark and also because I prioritised being social and not just sit behind my desk coding all night 😉

Anyway I did not fully stop working. I actually started working on my own flight controller written from scratch in one of by courses. Below is the result so far:

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QuadCopters – How to get started

I have been watching different videos of QuadCopters recently and I’ve been pretty amused. The way they fly and the way they control their movements is unbelievable – it almost looks like a bug.

If you don’t know what a QuadCopter is, you should definitely have a look at the video below where some advanced features of cooperating Quadcopters are displayed:

So I decided to start reading some more about the materials behind these QuadCopters and how they manage to stabilize in the air.

In this blog post I will try to describe the different steps I have been thru to plan, design and build the prototype of my QuadCopter. There will be coming some more blog posts later on describing how to get the QuadCopter running, programming it, tuning it etc.

This blog post is divided into 3 parts

  1. What is a QuadCopter

    1. Brushless motors
    2. Propellers
    3. Roll, Pitch and Yaw
    4. ESC – Electronic Speed Controller
    5. Battery
    6. The frame
    7. Frame configuration
    8. Inertial Measurement Unit
    9. Controller electronics
  2. Initial decisions
    1. Theoretical calculator
  3. Conclusion

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