Programmable Quadcopter And Connecting To PC


#1

Dear DroneTrest,

My first post at DroneTrest.

Firstly, before I go into any detail, I’d like you to know that I’m inexperienced in this subject. Therefore, if some things I mention here, aren’t possible, stupid or anything like that, please let me know. I’ll try to be as detailed as possible and you’ll understand it all once you read the whole thread.


Main Requirements: A Quadcopter with following features:

  • Completely re-programmable quadcopter (from motor’s, sensors and controller
    board (if possible)).

  • Generally the quadcopter should include sensors such as 3-Axis Accelerometer, 3-Axis Gyroscope, 3-Axis Magnetometer, Pressure Sensor and GPS.

  • Quadcopter should also have an ultrasonic sensor. If not, it should give me an option to add ultrasonic sensors. Front, Back, Left, Fight, Top, Bottom. 6 ultrasonic sensors in total. Is there anything better than an ultrasonic sensor? (The reason for this will be explained later on).

  • The quadcopter should be able to connect to the PC/Laptop via WiFi. If WiFi option is not available, then another means to connect from the PC/Laptop to the Quadcopter. (To control the quadcopter via PC/Laptop. Reason will be explained later on.) Probably like a USB dongle thingy, (mind my bad jargon :stuck_out_tongue:), where you connect that to the PC and it’ll allow you to connect the drone to the PC via RC connection (Not sure if that’s possible. But I think the Crazyflie has something like that).


Different Planning Options:

Now in order to fully satisfy the requirements I can do two things:

  • Buy a fully made quadcopter that comes with all the features in the main requirements.
  • Build a quadcopter from scratch using an Arduino or ArduoPilot.

What I Intend To Do With It:

  • The main reason I need a programmable quadcopter is because I’ll be creating an algorithm where the quadcopter will stay 1 meter away from objects. And where it tries to avoid objects that come flying towards it. This is a reason I need sensors that are fast enough to detect objects in mid-air.

  • Now I’ll be using that algorithm and fine tune it. Use the GPS and all the sensors to make the quadcopter autonomousely fly from one point to another indoors or outdoors. If its outdoors, u can just go from one point to another. Avoiding obstacles, it finds in mid-air. If it’s indoors. It’ll try to go from one point to another using GPS and using ultrasound to detect and avoid objects and walls. Possibly use the camera to create a 3-D model of the environment to learn from it, as indoors would have a lot of obstacles and less air-space.

  • Now the key stuff I want to do is control the quadcopter from my PC. I will create a software (using any programming language) to control the quadcopters movements. Also capture the sensors and show it visually to the user as the GUI. And possibly show the camera live too.


Questions To Answer:

  1. After reading my whole lecture, what do you think is the best options from “Different Planning Options”.
  2. I know WiFi could be a bad choice to communicate to a quadcopter, as the range is bad and latency could be bad too. What other ways can I connect to the quadcopter to the PC? Without making it too complex. For example, telling me to get an Arduino and PPM and to communicate with each other. Because I have no idea on that topic.
    As I read it from here: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1415369
    It sounds too complex and time consuming. Is there a simpler way?
  3. Let’s say I get the AR Drone 2.0. And then use the crazy radio as a communications link. Would that work?
    Link to crazyradio: https://www.bitcraze.io/crazyradio-pa/
  4. As you’ve read the whole thing. What would you recommend?

Apologies if this is the wrong section of the forum, or if a similar question has already been answered. I searched, but it came up with nothing.
If this is a wrong forum, I apologise. Please direct me to the correct forums.Dear DroneTrest,

Kind Regards Jay


#2

Hi @Jaydeeph,

I’d recommend you taking a look at Erle-Copter (https://erlerobotics.com/blog/product/erle-copter/) a Linux drone that allows to use WiFi and is based on APM (ardupilot).

Additinoally to Erle-Copter, you’ve got also a DIY kit starting at only 299 € https://erlerobotics.com/blog/diy-drone/.

Cheers,


#3

Hi @vmayoral. Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll definitely take a look at it in a lot of details. Seems promising, but is big for indoors :stuck_out_tongue:. Nevertheless, the DIY kit seems like a decent size. Thanks once again.


#4

More suggestions are welcome everyone. I’d like to get as much research done as possible before buying something expensive :smile:.


#5

We do quite a bit of stuff indoors with Erle-Copter but you can definitely build smaller copters with Erle-Brain (erlerobotics.com/blog/product/erle-brain). According to what you’ve described, given that it’s a Linux embedded computer and that it’s open source and hardware, i’d say it’s a good fit for your research purposes.

Cheers!


#6

I do agree with @vmayoral, that the erle-copter is a great choice given that its abit more powerful in terms of computation than other systems on the market.

The crazyflie 2.0 is aslo a great developer quadcopter for indoor use, however due to its tiny size you are quite limited when it comes to what it can carry, and it does not include GPS.

As for platforms, we sell a bunch of quadcopter kits that vary in size and carrying capacity so once you have some idea about what sensors you are using I can give you some better ideas about which platform/motors/battey. possibly something along the lines of F450 frame will be good.

In terms of communication, if its just telemetry data you are after then the best thing to use would be the 433mhz telemetry kit as they work realy well, You can also use them to control your quadcopter via your PC/smartphone instead of a RC controller.

But overall I would highly suggest you consider using a flight controller based off the arducopter firmware, such as pixhawk, APM, unmanned hawk, or even the erle-copter.

Hope that helps


#7

@vmayoral Yeah, it definitely is perfect for my project. But prices are bit high. Hehe. You see, this is my final year project I’m doing at a university as I’m studying software engineering. If I manage to fit it in my budget, I’ll definitely get it.


@unmannedtech I think you misunderstood me there. I didn’t mean to use Crazyflie 2.0. But I was referencing the crazyradio that the Crazyflie uses. Do you think I’d be able to use the crazyradio with another quadcopter to communicate from the laptop?

By telemetry data, does that include information from all the sensors and such? If yes, then I’d definitely need that too, as I’ll be displaying all the data in the software I’m creating. Thanks a lot for the suggestion.


#8

You can use the crazyradio PA with other gear if you prefer, but due to its tight integration with the crazyflie environment I would personaly think it will work out easier if you use use the 433mhz telemetry kit as you just need to talk to it via serial commands. Also if you plan to use an arducopter powered drone it already supports this telemerty kit and you can also send RC commands directly to your drone via the MAVlink protocol.

Hope that helps


#9

@unmannedtech Thank you for the information. I’ll do more research on serial commands and MAVlink protocol. Thanks a lot, really appreciate the help. If I have any further questions in the future, will this thread be open or will I have to create a new one?


#10

No problem, we have not set any threads to close so if your question is related to this subject its best to keep it in the same thread :smile:

Any questions just let me know and I will try my best to help.