I am currently working on integrating an object tracking algorithm of my own making into the Mission Planner. The algorithm combines Lucas-Kanade and SURF and attempts to learn negative and positive reinforcement values as it runs. Right now it is in the early stages of development, but I hope to have something fully functional within a few months.


My hope is to use this to aid in automatic centering of the tracked object by sending commands to the APM to move the camera gimbal based on the distance of the tracked object from the center of the frame. In the videos below you will see two demonstrations of this tracking algorithm. In both cases it seems to perform well with background noise.


NOTE: I apologize for the terrible frame rate of the videos. I don't have very good screen capture software. The second video is a little higher quality.

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  • Hi Adam, any news, how is the servo interface going, is it working yet.. :-)

  • Developer

    Chuck: Sorry about that. I sent my message along with my "Friend Request" Check now.

  • Oddly I didn't get a PM.

    I did box up the Micro Maestro.


    I'm not using servos.  I have two tracking solutions.  One is stepper motors the other is dc motors.

    The stepper solution is wicked fast, but meant for a dish.  The DC motors solution is meant for a long lens camera.

    I'm only sending you the Maestro because it gives a common protocol we can both use.


  • Developer

    Chuck: Thank you and PM sent! You should be able to use a zoom lens without a problem. It will really depend on how zoomed it it is and how fast the servos can move to keep up with the movement of the UAS. Currently my software can re-aquire a target if it has been lost. I will post a new video demonstrating that soon.


    Yusuf: I appreciate the offer. Right now all I need is the Micro Maestro from Chuck to get started. If I need additional help it is nice to know the community will back me up. Thank you.


    Abusus: This is exactly what I had imagined. Tracking software does exist already for military/LE, but it is pretty expensive. I am actually currently working on an Octo frame that I hope to be able to sell to local LE. My long term goal is to donate my time and equipment to help with natural disasters or missing persons searches.


    Davey: I think I should be ok for now, but good idea. The only thing I am missing so far to make a proof of concept is the Micro Maestro which Chuck has graciously donated to me for development.Thank you.


    Thanks All!


  • Adam, if you need a little funding to help this along, why not set up a Donate link on a website like Happy Kilmore. I'd be happy to donate and Im sure some others would to.
  • very good idea, Adam. This could be very helpful for policemen to track a thief or a car(may be with the help of FPV system).

  • Well Adam, if it goes the way you seem to indicate, then i would be more than willing to help you fund the project, just PM me with your bank detail and i can send you some funds. I have so many other modellers who would be so apreciative for such a product, you would have a ready market for such a device.

  • Adam,

    I happen to have an extra six-channel Micro Maestro.  I had one then purchased a second by mistake.

    You can PM me if you still need it.


    I'm hoping for enough precision to use a zoom lens and keep the plane within the field of view.

    Speaking of zoom lens, you get extra credit of you can zoom in on the object.


    I was looking at this.


    I onwder ow to aquire the object, and re-aquire if its lost.


  • Very impressive. This could be the next cheap antenna/copter tracking system.

  • Developer

    Davey, Chuck, Yusuf: I just downloaded the Pololu SDK (USB servo controller) and integrated it into my software. I will be ordering the actual hardware servo controller soon to test it out. So far it looks very promising.

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