Flying Robots

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In this project we are developing technologies and algorithms for flying robots, which operate indoor and outdoor. Several flying robots will collaborate together.

Such an unmaned aerial vehicle (UAV) -- featured with a camera -- can be used for checking windmills or other technical facilities or it can be used as a flexible, flying wireless computer network.

In Germany you'll find a lot of development around UAVs, especially quadrocopters. The famous X-Ufo toy has been invented here and we have at least two companies, which will sell you high sophisticated, very professional quadrocopters (microdrones GmbH und AirRobot GmbH & Co. KG). A lot of different communities construct little quadrocopters more or less for fun or as a supervision video platform (Mikrokopter und UAVP). Beside this, many german universities do a lot of research, as we do.

Until now we have a flying platform based on a community-quadrocopter mikrokopter developed from Holger Buss and Ingo Busker. We modified the flight control and added a superior central control (we call it flobby control). This central control gets its commands and sends back flight parameters and sensor values via wireless lan (WLAN, 54MBit/s). Thus we have a very useful digitized, tcp/ip control channel. In order to avoid a hijacking of the UAV we are going to encrypt the communication channel with the help of a virtual private network (OpenVPN). For the central control we are using an embedded linux system, based on an arm processor (600MHz, 128MByte Ram, 32MByte Rom, WLAN, micro-SD-card, GPIOs, I2C..., see Gumstix).

Our main development and research focus is:

  • Stabilizing the handling characteristics of our UAV. That is mostly important for intelligent indoor operations. We are working here with classical infrared sensors and with vision control.
  • Self-determining the position. This is not a real problem for outdoor-operations (thanks to GPS) and the position can be determined in the range of plus/minus 1m. But for indoor-operations we need an accurate positioning in the range of a few centimeters. So we are currently doing some research on vision based algorithm for the position determination of the vehicle.
  • Independent operation. At this state our UAV has to be in constant contact to a remote control. In the future the UAV should work independent of our remote control. It will get a task ("find object abc") and work on it (maybe with the help of other UAV, see next topic). Therefore we need the position determination as well as a obstacle detection.
  • Collaboration of several flying robots. Several flying robots should self organize their operation.
  • Better Remote-Control. At the time we are controlling our UAV on a notebook with a special application. This application gets simple commands and it visualizes all flight parameters and sensor values. Now we develope a remote control for the Nokia Internet Tablet (Nokia N800). The Nokia will visualize video from the UAV and will directly be controlled via the touchscreen.

You will find more information on our german page.

Persönliche Werkzeuge