Solo Smart Drone Lands Smartly: PART 2

Our precision landing Solo is flying great! :) This test rig has an IR-LOCK sensor (via I2C), an SF/10A rangefinder (via Serial), and is running a customized precision landing firmware based on APM:Copter (solo-rebase). The video above shows two vision-guided landings. The full 10-landing test sequence is shown below. The typical landing accuracy ranges from 0-10cm, even in moderate/gusty wind.

One of the primary challenges of designing a precision landing UAV system is the controls tuning. Every UAV has different flight characteristics, and finding the right PID (+EKF) parameters can be a painstaking process. So it is very helpful to have a popular, consistent hardware platform (e.g., Solo) to develop on. Solo flies nicely out of the box without significant parameter modifications. The precision landing performance is noticeably better than our IRIS+ platform, and our previous Solo test platform (w/out a laser rangefinder). In the 10-landing test sequence, the typical landing accuracy ranged from ~0-10cm. There was only one ‘failure’ (landing #5 out of 10), in which the copter landed far outside of the specified bounds. This will be analyzed and corrected via the controls code.

This test platform is running a customized precision landing firmware, which uses the vision-based localization data to actively manage the landing accuracy. You can read more about the code, and see previous testing here. USER BEWARE: this code is experimental, and it assumes that you have a reliable rangefinder connected. 

Customized Firmware: ArduCopter-v2.px4

Github: http://bit.ly/1q3fIvS

Connecting IR-LOCK to Solo: Hackster.io article

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Comment by Thomas Stone on July 7, 2016 at 11:03pm

I just 'un-bricked' a Solo, and honestly couldn't explain exactly what I did. I performed at least one factory reset, and I also uploaded a default firmware to the Solo computer.... among other things. 

John is correct that the solid green lights might indicate that the IR-LOCK Sensor is not detected on the I2C bus. For some reason, this causes an error during driver initialization on Pixhawk2, instead of simply skipping it. 

This (below) shows a startup with the sensor connected (via NuttX Shell (NSH)).

 

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