|March 24, 2011||Posted by Guillaume under Building, Drone, Ground robots, Testing||
Before going on a coding spree and working on the project itself, we wanted to run some tests just to see if the drone could track a robot on the floor and follow it. But in order to do this, we didn’t want to code anything so we used a subterfuge: instead of using a tracking feature of the drone, we investigated its stabilization process. Indeed, in order to stay on the same spot when it doesn’t receive any instructions, the drone uses its own camera pointing at the ground, analyzes the images and try to stay above the pattern it’s matching at this moment.
In our experiments, we took a ground with an almost uniform surface (this way, it would be hard for the drone to find a landmark to stay stable), made the drone take off, and then we placed the drone above a LEGO land unit with a disk on it (the results seemed to be better with the disk). At this point, the land unit would be a landmark for the drone and according to our theories, if the drone doesn’t receive any instructions and the land unit move, the drone should follow the car.
The results are better than what we were expecting, you can see by yourself on the video above… Notice that the right smartphone remotely commands the drone (via WiFi), the left one remotely commands the ground unit (via Bluetooth) and that nobody’s touching at the drone or its remote control during all the “tracking” phase.