Mike Isted's Blog (16)

Configuring RFD868x/RFD900x Telemetry for Pixhawk 2

My previous blog of the Jetson TX2/Pixhawk 2 build includes the use of an RFDesign RFD 868x telemetry unit.  Here's the detail of how I set it up.  As usual, the post can be found at…

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Added by Mike Isted on August 29, 2018 at 5:25am — 1 Comment

Pixhawk 2 with Jetson TX2 Build

I have just completed my rebuild of The Groundhog hexacopter with a Pixhawk2  and NVIDIA Jetson TX2 companion computer.  This is in preparation for the coding blogs I am posting and further work integrating depth cameras and machine learning.  For those interested, details of the build are posted on my blog at…

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Added by Mike Isted on August 25, 2018 at 12:00am — 16 Comments

Coding UAVs with ROS. Subscribing to FCU data.

I have just published Part 2 of this series, designed to develop skills in Python and ROS so as to achieve flexible control of a UAV.  It's based on a Pixhawk FCU with Raspberry Pi companion computer.  The Pixhawk is running PX4, but it would also work with minor modifications with Arducopter.  

I have also re-released Part 1 with some important updates…

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Added by Mike Isted on August 16, 2018 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Autonomous UAV Coding Summer School - UWE Bristol Follow Up

We recently ran a 2-week UAV build and coding mechatronics Summer School at UWE Bristol for students from the Ecole des Mines d’Ales. Great students and a great venue made for a very successful course and much fun was had by all!

Huge thanks to @UWEBristol and of course the students themselves.

Drones were standard 450 frames, Pixhawk running Arducopter. …

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Added by Mike Isted on August 10, 2018 at 2:54am — No Comments

Robot Operating System for Flight Monitoring and Control with PX4 – Getting Started

If you have heard of Robot Operating System and want to use it to monitor and control UAV flight, this post will get you started…

More specifically, this post details how to set up a Pixhawk flight controller running PX4 firmware, with a Raspberry Pi3 companion computer running Robot Operating System. This combination gives flexible control over the flight…

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Added by Mike Isted on May 13, 2018 at 4:30am — 6 Comments

First Flight: Intel Realsense D435 on Jetson TX2 UAV

I have just posted the latest in a series of posts outlining a further step in the evolution of the GroundHog hexacopter into a multi-role UAV.  It is based on a Pixhawk flight controller with a Jetson TX2 companion computer.  It has now been fitted with an Intel RealSense D435 depthcam and this weekend I was able to take it out for a flight test.

The video from…

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Added by Mike Isted on April 22, 2018 at 10:40am — 9 Comments

MAAXX Europe 2018 DroneJam MasterClass

Last year I entered the MAAXX Europe Autonomous Drone Racing competition with my 'Groundhog' hexacopter, after which I published the code and other information.  This seemed to be of help to those flying with similar companion-computer based systems.  This year I ran a 'DroneJam Masterclass' for students wishing to make a start in autonomous drone coding and once again, I am releasing all the code and a blog of the event itself.…

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Added by Mike Isted on April 5, 2018 at 10:30am — No Comments

Groundhog Autonomous UAV - Going faster with sunglasses

The Groundhog is being developed to line-follow at low altitude and higher speeds.  This video is of the field testing taking the speed up to 1.75 m/s.  It also explains why the Groundhog now sports sunglasses.

The Track

An oval of 50mm red webbing, bends of radius approx 3m and straights of approx 15m. Testing took…

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Added by Mike Isted on May 22, 2017 at 3:00pm — No Comments

The Groundhog UAV - Curved line following

It's been a few week since tests were conducted of The Groundhog line-following a straight red line.  The Groundhog was an entry in the MAAXX Europe 2017 competition and although it didn't win, the lessons learned are being implemented so that it can be more competitive next year.

Time and weather have eventually converged to permit testing for the oval track -…

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Added by Mike Isted on May 14, 2017 at 9:00am — No Comments

The Groundhog UAV Chronicles. Line following using velocity vectors - initial testing.

Several lessons were identified here  from the entry of The Groundhog hexacopter in the MAAXX Europe competition earlier this year.

Current developments are around correcting the issues so that we get a UAV successfully lapping the oval track at a…

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Added by Mike Isted on April 24, 2017 at 2:37pm — 2 Comments

Post 5. MAAXX Europe. Quaternions, control code and PIDs.

In this last post of the series I shall overview the main program including the control algorithms for the Groundhog.  Code is written in Python, using Dronekit and OpenCV all running on a Raspberry Pi 3.

As we are flying indoors without GPS and also without optical flow, we are using quaternions to control the vehicle in the GUIDED_NOGPS flight mode of…

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Added by Mike Isted on April 5, 2017 at 9:29am — No Comments

Post 4. MAAXX Europe. Connecting the Pi 3 to the Pixhawk

In this short blog series I'm outlining the hardware and software of The Groundhog, my entry into the recent MAAXX-Europe autonomous drone competition held at the University of the West of England, Bristol.

Connecting the Raspberry Pi 3 to the Pixhawk took quite some working out, so I am hoping that by publishing my own step by step checklist, it may help others…

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Added by Mike Isted on March 30, 2017 at 1:00pm — 1 Comment

Post 3. MAAXX-Europe. Image processing for line following.

In this short blog series I’m outlining the hardware and software of The Groundhog, my entry into the recent MAAXX-Europe autonomous drone competition held at the University of the West of England, Bristol.

In this post I shall overview the approach taken to the image recognition system used to track the line being followed around the track.  Remember the…

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Added by Mike Isted on March 13, 2017 at 10:49am — 2 Comments

Post 2. MAAXX-Europe. The Groundhog Hardware

The Groundhog was at least twice as big and probably three time as heavy as many other competitors.  Why?  Because it is built for endurance (flight time 35mins+) and also because it's what I have as my development platform.  It normally flies outdoors of course...

Ah, so that means no gps and flying less than 30cm from the ground also rules out an optical flow…

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Added by Mike Isted on March 2, 2017 at 3:34pm — 3 Comments

Post 1. MAAXX-Europe 2017 Autonomous UAV Competition.

The Challenge

I recently entered the first MAAXX-Europe competition to be held at the University of the West of England (UWE).  On the surface it's a simple challenge in which UAVs must follow an oval circuit of one red line, around 20m by 6m.  However, this proved to be anything but simple and with…

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Added by Mike Isted on February 27, 2017 at 3:08pm — 2 Comments

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