TURN UP THE VOLUME!!! THE AUDIO IS QUIET!!!!
For the last few months I've been working on vision assisted landing for ArduCopter. The hope is to provide a means of landing a multirotor in a precise matter which is currently not attainable with GPS based landing supported by ArduCopter.
The development of this software was stimulated by Japan's recent effort to increase the use of UAV's for Search and Rescue. More can be read about that here!!! This sub-project of the S&R is being funded by Japan Drones, a 3DR retailer, and Enroute, also a 3DR retailer and a member of the DroneCode Foundation.
This specific feature, precision land, is a very small part of the large project and is designed for Multitrotor recovery. The idea is to fly a Multirotor to a disaster zone, survey the land, and relay intel(such as pictures) back to a base station. The base station may be a couple of miles away from the disaster location so precious flight time, and ultimately battery, is used to fly the copter to and from the disaster location. Multirotors are not known for their lengthy flight times, so the more battery that can be conserved for surveying and not traveling is critical for a successful mission.
That's where the precision land comes in. The idea is to station rovers, or unmanned ground vehicles, near the disaster location. These rovers will have a landing pad on top for a Multirotor. That way a Multirotor can use all of its battery to survey an area, land on top of a rover, and hitch a ride back to the base station on the rover.
Autopilot: Pixhawk with ArduCopter 3.2
Companion Computer: Odroid U3
Camera: Logitech c920
Vision algorithm: OpenCV canny edge detection, OpenCV ellipse Detector, my concentric circle algorithm(real simple)
Performance(on four cores): Process images at 30+ fps in good light and 10 fps in low light. Performance is limited by camera exposure not the Odroid's processing power!
1. I hope to have my first live test in a week or so. More testing needs to be done in the simulator to check all the edge cases and make the landing logic more robust.
2. Integrate the code more closely with ArduCopter code. Currently the companion computer takes control of the aircraft when it is in GUIDED mode. The hope is to have the companion computer take control in landing modes(RTL).
3. Check the performance on other companion computers: Intel Edison, BeagleBoneBlack, Raspberry Pi(maybe).
The code can be found on my github. Be cautious!
Thanks to Randy Mackay for helping me integrate the code with ArduCopter.