"Follow me" with Parrot AR.Drone and color tracking

Here's another cool idea for the "personal droid" concept that we've been messing around with. Ours uses the built-in "Follow Me" function with ArduCopter and a handheld GPS+3DR radio module to send your GPS coordinate to ArduCopter, but the Parrot AR.Drone doesn't have GPS. So they use a fancy t-shirt and the on-board camera instead!

From New Scientist:

The system, called Joggobot, is being developed by Floyd Mueller and Eberhard Gräther at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia.

The duo plan to allow users to enter their preferred running speed into a smartphone app that controls the drone so it flies ahead of a jogger at just the right pace. Or it could be set to maintain a distance of a few metres no matter what pace a runner is going.

They tested their idea using the foam-fendered AR Drone made by Parrot of Paris, France. Using custom software, they programmed it to follow a bright blue and orange pattern painted on a runner's T-shirt (pictured below).

As soon as an onboard camera sees the shirt, the craft takes off and hovers about a metre off the ground. If it ever loses sight of the pattern, the drone lands automatically.

Mueller says he and Gräther are tinkering with settings to test what motivates runners. "How will people interact with a robotic exercise companion? Should the robot be more like a coach or more like a pet?" he asks. "One might make the exercise more effective, but the other might make it more fun. Which one is 'better'? And is there a 'better'?"

Video here (sadly embedding doesn't work)

(Via sUAS News)

Views: 12664

Comment by Jack Crossfire on June 3, 2012 at 8:55pm

Americans wouldn't be able to exercise long enough to use the 10 minute battery life.

Comment by Mike on June 3, 2012 at 11:00pm

Also worth pointing out that the "follow me" concept is an old one http://youtu.be/t-Sb6h131Bo

Comment by Anish on June 4, 2012 at 7:50am

:) sounds smiliar to MK's follow me ...

Comment by Simon on June 4, 2012 at 8:11am

Is it possible to purchase ready to mount fenders?

Comment by John Moore on June 4, 2012 at 1:06pm

"Ours uses the built-in "Follow Me" function with ArduCopter and a handheld GPS+3DR radio module to send your GPS coordinate to ArduCopter"

Is there a similar project for Arduplane? It seems like if you had a ground GPS feed you could make something like a continuously updating "Fly To Here" command to make your plane follow target. 


Comment by John Church on June 4, 2012 at 1:38pm

APM has follow me implemented. It's in Planner. Ctrl+f

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on June 4, 2012 at 1:43pm

Yes, that's what I was referring to the in the post. We've had Follow Me implemented since last year. It's in the manual.

EDIT: John, sorry I misread your post and now see you weren't talking about ArduCopter. The same functionality can work with ArduPlane, but it will be a lot less reliable, since planes can't hover. Instead, it should circle overhead your position as you move, but to be honest I've never tried that myself. 

Comment by John Moore on June 4, 2012 at 1:54pm

Does it also work with ArduPlane? Its not mentioned in the ArduPlane wiki.

Comment by John Moore on June 4, 2012 at 2:59pm


Ill try it out next time we get a calm day here. 

Comment by heliboy on October 2, 2012 at 5:15am

Could we use this idea to improve precision of landing position ? Use GPS to get close to the landing site then use downward facing camera to center the image and begin descent ?


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