This blog will be about the project I'm currently working on. You will find a lot of information about the process of designing a smart quadcopter. The goal of the project is to build a quadcopter that can avoid obstacles and fly in tight spaces by itself.
The project started two years ago as a school project about the heat-island effect in cities. The goal was to create a drone and measure the influence of buildings, asphalt, water and vegetation on the air and ground temperature. We managed to get a flying drone and perform some measurements but unfortunately, we were not allowed to fly over the city.
Now, after two years, I decided to get the old drone and bring it back to live. I didn't fly it because I crashed the drone and almost cut of my finger. The frame was heavily bend by the crash and I didn't had time to fix it.
The goal of the project is now to create a custom drone, entirely designed from the ground up. The quadcopter design turned out to be the most stable design to do measurements. besides being stable, the quadcopter has the advantages of flying in all directions and that is needed to avoid obstacles. before I started this project I created a list with demands and functions for the drone.
- flighttime around 20-30 minutes
- can move in all directions at variable speed
- can carry sensors and a camera
- range around 1500m
- frame made entirely with 3D-printer for light-weight and easy repair
- easily changeable battery
- as light as possible
- return home
- accurate GPS location
- digital compass
- self leveling mode (using MPU6050)
- altitude hold with barometer
- sending live data back to ground station
- battery voltage monitoring
- battery current sensor
- altitude detection with ultrasonic range finder
- obstacle detection with ultrasonic / laser or camera
- obstacle avoidance
This are the basic demands for my drone, if All these functions are implemented and working I will try to add some more features.
- camera for obstacle detection
- camera for "follow me"
- programmable waypoints for GPS
- 3G connection for world-wide control and sensordata
- 4G connection for live video
The "follow me" function is a function that can track people or vehicles by using a camera, no face recognition.
By now I almost have the entire frame finished. I will now focus on designing and programming the flight controller.
I will add more information and pictures about the progress soon.