Introduction to the project
The Iqarus Project is all about quadrocopters. So what is a quadrocopter? Well, it is basically a helicopter, but with four rotors instead of one. The long term vision of the project is to create a swarm of fully autonomous quadrocopters (4-6) that map and analyse a region as an important part of a search and rescue operation. This project is a course given at Mälardalen University called “Project in Robotics” under the firm supervision of Senior Lecturer Mikael Ekström. Students from the masters program in robotics and from the masters program in intelligent embedded systems are cooperating in order to make the Iqarus project a success. The project started in September 2012 and ends in January 2013.
As a part of the long term goal we have been assigned to construct a number of quadrocopters and make
them autonomously follow a non-autonomous leader in a safe and robust manner. They will be able
to avoid collision with walls and among themselves. To solve the following problem we are using ultrasonic distance sensors and computer vision with the open source library openCV. With vision solution the robot can see the next robot in the line but also so that the long-term goal of mapping the environment will be easier. This requires quite a lot of computations for every single robot which means we need powerful platforms to be able to execute the software.
So who are working on the Iqarus project? Right now we are 13 students from Mälardalen University in Västerås. In order to make the project easier to overview the students have been divided into three different groups with different areas of responsibility: Software, Electronics and Mechanics. Overseeing the operation of these three groups and also handling administrative tasks is the Project Manager, Jonas Karlsson. For more information about the project members, please see the “Group-page”.
Key features of the quadrocopter platform:
The platform is still under development but we can give you a sneak peek of some of the features that will be on it!
- Single camera vision system using OpenCV for high level functionality
- Array of ultrasonic range sensors for collision avoidance
- Wireless communication between units in the swarm using Bluetooth
- ARM11 core 700 MHz Processor running a small Linux distribution
- Dedicated MCU for stabilization of the quadrocopter