2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
Researchers from the University of Zurich have taught the quadcopter to perform aggressive maneuvers, relying only on the readings of its own camera, gyroscope and accelerometer. Detailed information about the project is published on the university website.
Due to their design, quadrocopters have high maneuverability, but, as a rule, an external control and positioning system with additional sensors and rapid cameras is used to perform complex dynamic movements in research work. A similar system, for example, was used by specialists from the Swiss Higher Technical School of Zurich to test a single-rotor asymmetric drone and to build a rope crossing using quadcopters.
Despite the high efficiency of external positioning systems in the laboratory, they limit the use of existing developments in the future. In order to make multicopters as independent as possible, engineers from the University of Zurich decided to use only the readings of the on-board camera and IMU (gyroscope and accelerometer).
The algorithm that controls the drone knows the exact size of the obstacle, but does not know its location. The system based on the Odroid-XU4 single-board computer first recognizes a window with a black rectangle in the room, and then, constantly correcting and correcting the trajectory, plans and performs a dynamic maneuver flying through the obstacle. After that, the algorithm stabilizes the quadcopter and the drone hovers in place.
Despite the fact that the software can calculate the trajectory regardless of the angle of rotation of the window, in reality, the researchers did not exceed the angle of 45 degrees due to the fact that a relatively heavy aircraft was selected. In the experiments, the authors used a drone weighing 830 grams, which, when passing through an obstacle, developed a speed of up to three meters per second, while the deviation of the quadcopter from the initial trajectory did not exceed 10 centimeters. In total, according to the estimates of the developers, the drone successfully flew through the window in 80 percent of the cases.
Previously, a similar technology for performing aggressive maneuvers was demonstrated by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania. Their system also used only its own sensors and the computing capabilities of an onboard system with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and a Hexagon DSP signal processor, but at the same time, the quadcopter was significantly lighter and weighed 250 grams, which allowed it to reach higher speeds and more difficult tasks.
The ability to use the readings of our own sensors for operational orientation on the ground is important for small drones. In addition to performing complex tricks, it also helps in the development of obstacle avoidance systems. Last year, for example, developers from the Laboratory of Information Technology and Artificial Intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology presented an aircraft-type drone that is capable of independently recognizing obstacles and dodging them at speeds of up to 50 kilometers per hour.