Autonomously navigating warehouses fast (with Pixhawk)

Interesting proof-of-concept by DARPA researchers using a Pixhawk-powered drone to autonomously navigate a cluttered warehouse environment at 20 m/s.

DARPA's Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program recently demonstrated that a commercial quadcopter platform could achieve 20-meters-per-second flight while carrying a full load of sensors and cameras. The FLA program aims to develop and test algorithms that could reduce the amount of processing power, communications, and human intervention needed for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to accomplish low-level tasks, such as navigation around obstacles in a cluttered environment. If successful, FLA would reduce operator workload and stress and allow humans to focus on higher-level supervision of multiple formations of manned and unmanned platforms as part of a single system. Through this exploration, the program aims to develop and demonstrate the capability for small (i.e., able to fit through windows) autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles to fly at speeds up to 20 m/s with no communication to the operator and without GPS. 

This testing was carried out at Joint Base Cape Cod / Otis Air National Guard Base.

For more information on the FLA program, visit: http://www.darpa.mil/program/fast-lig...

Views: 1882

Comment by Matt™ on February 12, 2016 at 1:42pm

I don't get it...when it's not flying super slow it's also not navigating anything but a straight line...

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on February 12, 2016 at 1:44pm

Is it just me, or is this video a little misleading.  There are really two separate things going on here.

First, they have remote human control of a quadcopter, carrying the full load of sensors, at 20 m/s.  It's not bad, but remember, this is fully manual control.

Second, they let it autonomously navigate, which happens very slowly.  1m/s maybe?

The two things sort of get confused by the way it's presented.

Comment by Thomas Stone on February 12, 2016 at 2:15pm

Cool. I want my warehouse to have a fleet of Fleyes. It will look like a scene from iRobot. :) ... Unfortunately, I don't think the Fleye will be as friendly to sensor integration, compared to the F450+Pixhawk.

By the way, I call dibs on the scratch&dent Hokuyo Scanner if they are re-selling. 

Comment by Scott W on February 12, 2016 at 3:03pm

Wow, DARPA is starting to reach hobbyist level engineering.

Comment by Patrick Poirier on February 12, 2016 at 3:36pm
Well, all boxes have same size with 5 stickers perfectly aligned and the middle one is green. Yep I can certainly try it with Randy's Balloon_Finder !!
Comment by Tobias Witting on February 12, 2016 at 3:53pm

yes Rob, this is very misleading. I thought: oh wow. 20m/s obstacle avoidance...

Comment by Darius Jack on February 12, 2016 at 5:38pm

http://www.theverge.com/2016/2/12/10981740/darpa-drone-autonomous-f...

"

DARPA used a hodgepodge of different drone parts to create the UAVs, including a commercial DJI Flamewheel 450 frame and a 3D Robotics Pixhawk onboard autopilot system. In its first successful test, DARPA got its drones flying autonomously at the desired speed and also tested the drone's ability to "see" obstacles using cameras, inertia measurement devices, and LIDAR and sonar sensors. "

More from Las Vegas CES 2015

http://paper.li/Solarpvpanel/1451778116

Global Drones

http://paper.li/Solarpvpanel/1438605902

Comment by JB on February 12, 2016 at 9:15pm

+1 Matt and Rob

It clearly says "tele-operated" on the video on the first run. 

Don't DARPA engineers have youtube behind their firewall or know how to google FPV racing?

Impressed? Not.

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on February 13, 2016 at 10:32am

I think it's this headline that really sets the stage for the entire thing to be misinterpreted.

"Interesting proof-of-concept by DARPA researchers using a Pixhawk-powered drone to autonomously navigate a cluttered warehouse environment at 20 m/s."

That should really read:  Quadcopter manually flown through an open corridor at 20 m/s.  Then demonstrates ability to navigate through a warehouse full of obvious optical tracking targets at 1 m/s.

Not nearly as impressive.

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on February 13, 2016 at 10:42am

Is this the end result of a $3M of contract?

https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=ac1efe...

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