The Structures team is responsible for the design, build, and testing of the drone. To design, we use Solidworks to model and analyze the quadcopter’s custom and off the shelf components. To build, we use carbon fiber layups, machining, and additive manufacturing processes. To test, we fly (and crash) the vehicle indoors as well as at the MAir outdoor test facility.
Circuits designs and builds the vehicles’ electrical hardware and electronics for testing motors and materials. The vehicles’ printed circuit boards (PCB) have to provide platforms for the control software to run and communicate with the navigation software, as well as manage the safety of the batteries, motors, and operators. We design with Eagle and use Subversion for collaboration.
We use Intel Realsense RGBD cameras and LIDAR to view our surrounding world. To solve our challenges in the new mission, we research and develop state-of-the-art algorithms to perform detection, segmentation, fitting, tracking, and other functions on the image and point cloud. Some problems we are working on include visual odometry, image stitching, object detection, and tracking using advanced neural networks. We also use LIDAR to estimate the position of obstacles. Our algorithms are run on a Jetson TX2 embedded GPU.