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Figure 1
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Figure 2
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Mechanical Engineering
Team 55

Team Members

Advisor

Eric Kostoss
Alden Lamp
Ethan Millette

Chengyu Cao

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Autonomous Air Vehicle Operations from Mobile Host Platform—Air Vehicle Design

ThayerMahan is a leader in designing, manufacturing and (when desired by their customers) operating systems to collect acoustic and electronic information on the world’s oceans. The goal of this project is to develop a rendezvous system, both the hardware and software, that enables an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) to land on Team ME56’s unmanned ground vehicle (UGV). This project is focused on the required electronics and software to accomplish said task with a secondary focus on the vehicles themselves. The main purpose is to identify and resolve the obstacles that impede accomplishing the goal.
The first system is an off-the-shelf component drone. We determined that the easiest way to get a drone that could support the tasks we require it to do was to build it ourselves. In this way, we can carry unconventional combinations of flight controllers, sensors and computers that permit us more leeway in our method to land than buying a pre-built chassis. The second system is the Real-Time Kinematics (RTK) GPS setup. We favored this system over vision-based and traditional GPS landing methods due to the error in the sensor’s reported absolute position being approximately a centimeter. By using pymavlink, we are able to dynamically set waypoints for the drone to follow and ultimately land on the UGV.