Tuesday, July 21, 2015

2015-07-21: Autonomy Incubator Flies Coordinated Micro UAVs

AI blog regulars Bilal, Gil, and Javier celebrate with their micro UAVs.

Just two weeks after the micro UAVs landed in the Autonomy Incubator (AI), the controls research of interns Javier Puig Navarro and Bilal Mehdi has merged with intern Gil Montague's communications research to make path-following and coordinated flight with these tiny vehicles a reality.  Three micro UAVs took off, followed a circular ascending path, and landed in unison.

Trouble finding the little guys? Look at the trees.

The breakthrough came at the very end of the day, after hours of fiddling with fiducials (the reflective silver alloy dots that make the vehicles trackable in our indoor flight area) and carefully tweaking variables finally paid off. Before the AI attempts any multivehicle flight, each UAV must prove its individual robustness-- a time consuming process on occasion (such as today), but one imperative to both safety and accurate research.

While the path they followed was simple, today's flight sets an important precedent for future AI research with micro UAVs.

"We got these vehicles going and now we can test them," Gil said.

"We've done three, now we can do four as well, which won't be that big of a leap," Bilal added.

With multiple micro UAV flight proven successful in the AI flight range, the team is one step closer to simulating flocking behaviors and other awesome demonstrations. Watch the magic happen below:

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