Drone Programming Strategy

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by BR-549, Apr 10, 2016.

  1. BR-549

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2013
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    I wasn't sure where to post this. I have a question about programming strategy of multicopter drones.

    1. What is the communication procedure? I mean is it like "can you hear me now?---yes I can" all during the flight time, or only when a new instruction is needed?

    2. And what routine does one go into when you lose communication?

    Is there any standards or guidelines or is everything still in the hodgepodge stage?
     
  2. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
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    Are you talking about a commercial drone or hobby?

    Hobby drones typically do not have two-way communication for control. They are set to a "fail safe" should communication be lost. Moreover to fly within the evolving limits for hobby flight, you need to have direct visual contact 100% of the time. If you fly FPV (first person view) you may also need a safety pilot who is not FPV. More details are found here: https://www.modelaircraft.org/joinnew.aspx?s=google That group, also know as the "AMA," provides liability insurance coverage to its members. Hobby fliers also need a license from the FAA. That is simply a registration process and costs about $5 today.

    AMA regulations have existed for years. However, there is an evolving aspect as discussions with the FAA are ongoing,

    If you fly commercially, you need to get a special/different license from the FAA. You may need to show some form of financial responsibility or insurance as well. If not, it would be highly advised that you have that insurance. I am not sure whether AMA insurance covers commercial activities.

    John
     
  3. BR-549

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2013
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    I hadn't thought about the hobby/commercial aspect. I'm not into it, but I would think like anything else, the hobbyist would be at the forefront of it.

    I was just curious. What is "fail safe"?
     
  4. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
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    "Fail safe" is a set of control positions that the drone establishes when radio contact is lost. For fixed wing aircraft, it is usually motor off, slight up elevator (to slow it down), and a set turn. In other words, a controlled crash with an emphasis on public safety.

    With modern, GPS-enabled drones, there may be a homing function, but I don't know for sure. Homing versus a controlled crash may be considerably more dangerous, depending several factors.

    John
     
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  5. BR-549

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2013
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    I didn't think of GPS either. I guess there's lots of options.
     
  6. MrSoftware

    Member

    Oct 29, 2013
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    My drone is very old by today's standards, but has GPS. When it loses signal it goes to a predetermined height then flies directly to where it took off from. After 2 minutes it will decend and land.

    There are open source drone projects, Google them. :)
     
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  7. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    Yep..
    The new DJI Phantom 4 actually has vision too.. So with a loss of communication it will return to its "launching" coordinates but have the ability to avoid objects along the way home..
    Even has a new "tap to fly" function where you can just point to an object/location on your screen and it will fly to it..
    That thing is so badass.. I so want one..
    Tons of youtube videos talking all about their functionality,etc..
     
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  8. BR-549

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2013
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    Are you serious? Can they do that now? That's pretty blankin good.
     
  9. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    Please put down everything you are doing and get over to youtube and search for "DJI Phantom 4" and hold on to your hat.. IMO there is no other drone but its getting some competition now..

    Its at the point where you don't need to "fly" them anymore.. All you need to do is hit the "launch" button and then point to a place on your screen and away it goes.. Then you can just sit there and watch the streaming video output right on the controller..

    There is one (a few actually) that you...for example could be at the top of a mountain about the ski down it and all you do is pull the thing out of your bag and press 1 button then literally throw it to launch it.. It will find you and follow you all the way down the hill where then you just hold your hand out and it will land right in your hand.. and back onto the ski lift you go..

    and again.. sorry but you will be spending the next 2+ hours on youtube :D ... But take out your wallet and hide it first..
    I literally was 10 minutes in and about ready to drop $1400 right away.. My wife had to hold me back and give me something else to look at ;)..
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016
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  10. BR-549

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2013
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    I remember reading an article, I think it was in scientific America, this fella was researching bee and insect flight.

    Some insects have little weights that they say, give counter balance and reference symmetry to their flight. These are the precision fliers.

    Regardless of this fact, the insects fly by sight only. They don't have instruments that tell them where they are in relation to navigation.(altitude, bank, speed, etc) This fella claimed to have derived(or close to) the algorithm for a visual only avoidance and navigation system. If I remember right, darpa was most interested.

    The image information from a ccd device is all that is needed. The program analyses motion.

    This was seven or eight yrs ago, I believe. Maybe some of this is getting out to the public.
     
  11. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    "vision" is all the rage these days in everything.. sadly needed as people are finding more ways to be lazy.. Everything from quality control to car guidance,etc...
    These drone things seem to really be spatially aware though via GPS and vision..
    The "track me" functions on the phantom 4 are cool too.. Just draw a box around yourself on the screen and it tracks you everywhere..

    I'm an avid "jeeper" and want one just to be able to launch it and have it follow me through the forest/rocks,etc... recording the whole time..

    I've been meaning to find enough time to play with OpenCV/Roborelm/Pixycam,etc...
     
  12. BR-549

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2013
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    I see what you mean, that's quite a unit.
     
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