Robot Helicopter Project

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Project overview

The objective of the Autonomous Flying Robot Project is to build autonomous flying robot capable of in-flight stability and navigation. Additional capabilities, such as payload deployment, may be added at a later stage. This project should serve as an educational opportunity and a source for independent study/research projects for students. There may also be opportunities to compete against other schools in competitions such as the National Aerial Robotics Competition.

Short Term Goals

  • Hover in place at a constant altitude in an indoor, windless environment
  • Fly forwards and turn at a constant rate and altitude
  • Rudimentary dead reckoning navigation
  • Achieve the above in an outdoor environment with a light breeze

Possible Future Goals

Environment sensing

  • Obstacle avoidance
  • Machine vision
  • GPS waypoint navigation
  • Payload deployment
  • Advanced flight movements (backwards, sideways, etc)
  • Aerobatics (rolls, flips, upside down, etc)

Design of First Robot

An electric, radio controlled model helicopter will serve as the chassis for the robot. A microcontroller, radio, and sensors will be added to control the helicopter. Model helicopters are a popular chassis for flying robots because they are cheap, readily available, and spare parts are easy to find. More exotic options, such as multi-rotor flying machines, might be considered in the future.

Costs for Short Term Goals

  • $200 for Esky Belt CP Helicopter
  • $150 for spare/upgrade parts for Esky Belt CP
  • $20 for flight simulator
  • $50 for 3 axis accelerometer
  • $60 for two ultrasonic rangers
  • $50 for three infra-red rangers
  • $60 for digital compass

Total: $590 + shipping & tax