Xplore Engineering Camp

Drones: From Toys to Spy-Planes Workshop

From June 26th to 27th, 2014 the Autonomous Aerospace Systems Laboratory took part in the Xplore Engineering Camp with a workshop focused on drones.

Participants could learn how to take a common R/C copter and turn it into a delivery drone, how to outfit a drone with low-cost sensors and software that can capture video from the sky and fly without joysticks. They could also explore the challenges of flying a quadcopter  through hands-on flight experiments.



Data Collected

All the data collected during the two days are presented in the google folder below.

The txt files have two columns. The first is the time in seconds and the second is the measured height in inches.


We have also included in the same folder an example.txt file and an example spreadsheet from Google Docs with a graph of the data in the txt file. You could use this or any other software to plot the data from your flight or any other flight. If you are using Google docs just use File > Import, select the txt file and use the option of “tab” as separator character.

Homework Questions

** UPDATED (and finalized) JULY 10, 2014 (!!!) **

From Professor Atkins:

I’m sorry about the delay in posting these questions and appreciate your patience.  If you’re still interested in obtaining the “gift” discussed at our XPlore session, please respond to the following questions with complete sentences in addition to “professional-looking” plots in a single complete PDF file.  Please email this file to me at ematkins@umich.edu.  Also please feel free to contact me by email with any questions; I will assume the email from which you send the PDF is able to receive your gift unless you indicate otherwise.  Thanks!

Question 1:

Plot the data from two flight tests, ideally the two in your session.  Give your figures a proper caption such as “Figure 1:  Flight Data from the East Quadrotor” or “Figure 2:  Flight Data from the West Quadrotor”.  Note that you can figure out East-West directions for the FXB building from a campus map.  Answer the remaining questions about one of your figures.

Question 2:

How many “flights” were done with one of the quadrotors (pick East or West), where a flight is defined as any continuous period of time where the quadrotor is lifting itself off the ground?

Question 3:

What was the longest flight, and for how many seconds did this flight last?

Question 4:

Even when the quadrotor was on the ground, the ultrasonic sensor did not read “zero” altitude.  Why was there a non-zero height value?

Question 5:

“Climb rate” is defined as the amount of altitude an aircraft gains (or loses) per second of time.  Identify a period of time on one of your plots during which the quadrotor steadily climbed.  Indicate the “climb rate” for this period of time.  Did this pilot climb or descend at a faster rate for the particular flight you reference?

Question 6:

Write a paragraph describing what you learned about “how to fly a quadrotor drone”.

Bonus question (for an ever-so-slightly nicer gift):

Write TWO (or more) paragraphs describing what you learned about flying drones safely and responsibly.

That’s it.  I look forward to reading your solutions.  – Prof. Atkins

What equipment did we use?