We wanted to enter the drone competition because 1) we think drones are cool, and 2) because we wanted to enter a specific prize that would essentially allow us to play with a fairly quality drone over the course of 32 hours.
What it does
It can do somersaults as well as other acrobatic feats in response to voice commands. It also has the ability to recognize and track images up to a 85% confidence interval.
How we built it
The official SDK for the drone is currently deprecated, thus we refactored an older, third party SDK in order to write programs for the drone. We wrote two separate, independently operated programs. The first is an image tracking program that runs concurrent programs in order to lock onto a target. It involves image based visual servo control such that the drone responds to movements of the target. The second program uses python speech recognition to take input and respond to voice commands, essentially rendering operation of the vehicle to be voice controlled.
Challenges we ran into
The SDK for the AR Drone 2.0 was deprecated and had compatibility issues out the wazoo with the 64-bit version of Linux and with modern versions of Linux. As such, it took a while to get it to work, and when we downloaded the tracking software, it also had issues. After resolving those issues, we realized how the documentation was not the greatest, the authors stated how it was incomplete. We didn't know how to use the learning option because it printed it on the terminal of the 7th child process. A large part of the time was spent trying to test the tracker software, but this proved challenging mostly because of the limited time we got to test due to the very short battery life of the drone. After which, we wanted to add functionality to it, but most of the problems were just small, programming errors.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Getting everything to work to the extent that it does is a feat that I, personally, will remember for the rest of my days.
What we learned
We learned the importance of backwards compatibility in software, and that the pace at which software advances often makes it extremely difficult to keep up to date with advancements in current technologies. We ran into many issues where software
What's next for Drone Goals
The next goal for Drone Goals would be to improve the precision and add more routines. Right now, our drone can only flip to the right and the left but we would like to be able to make it do other aerial stunts such as figure 8s and loop-de-loops. After that, the next goal would be fully autonomous tracking and following. We began to mess with visual tracking with the drone but were unable to master full autonomous tracking and following.