DIPLOMA IN AEROSPACE ELECTRONICS (S90)
Indoor & Outdoor Autonomous Flying Machines And Battery Swapping System
The aim of this project is to develop a fully autonomous UAV that is capable of taking off, flying, searching for a target and dropping a payload without any human controlling it. The UAV can snap photos at various pre-set locations automatically and record videos along the flight path. It also involves the development of an automatic battery swapping system where electrically powered multicopters can land precisely and replace depleted batteries with charged ones before continuing their mission. The Quadcopter is equipped with 360 camera, capable of flying in a tunnel for maintenance inspection.
With advancements in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) technology, indoor UAV applications such as search and rescue operations in a building, warehouse stock checking, indoor surveillance of high altitudes and tunnel inspections are possible. A typical surveillance operation will require a UAV pilot and a ground crew to take photos and videos. The aim of this project is to eliminate the presence of the UAV pilot and ground crew by developing a fully autonomous X8 multicopter that has a maximum takeoff weight of 5kg and a flight time of up to 15 minutes, is capable of taking-off, navigating in an indoor known environment, searching for a coloured circular target and dropping a payload on it, avoiding static obstacles and landing on a designated platform. The system is developed based on the Ubuntu and Robot Operating System (ROS) which is able to perform real-time computation of user developed algorithms. The key feature is that it does not require the user to have any experience in controlling an UAV.
UAVs have been used in many industrial outdoor applications but limited flight time is one of the challenges preventing the expansion of UAV applications. Hence this project worked to develop an automatic battery swapping system for electrically powered multicopters. When the multicopter is running low on battery power, it will be able to locate and land precisely on the battery swapping platform to replace the depleted battery with a charged one. After the battery swapping process has completed, the multicopter will be able to take off and continue its mission.
This project also focuses on the unique application, inspection and surveillance for maintenance of large infrastructure assets such as MRT tunnels so as to detect structural features that might indicate the potential for failures. A quadcopter capable of flying in the MRT tunnel, with lighting and a 360 degree camera system, has been built. The recorded camera images can be processed for visualization and interactive inspection using Virtual Reality Goggle.