Advanced Autonomy on a Low-Cost Drone

We created a hardware and software framework for an autonomous aerial robot, in which all software for autonomy can run onboard the drone, implemented in Python. We present an Unscented Kalman Filter (UKF) for accurate state estimation. Next, we present an implementation of Monte Carlo (MC) Localization and FastSLAM for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM). The performance of UKF, localization, and SLAM is tested and compared to ground truth, provided by a motion-capture system. Our autonomous educational framework runs quickly and accurately on a Raspberry Pi in Python. The base station machine only needs to have a web browser and does not need to have ROS installed, making it easy to use in school settings.

In partnership with the Duckietown Foundation, we are releasing our course materials for anyone to use. The Operations Manual contains a description of the drone and how to use it. The Learning Materials book contains all our projects and assignments. This work is being presented at IROS this week and has been nominated for a best paper award! Read the full paper here.

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