Now that every student has a drone, the logical thing to do is fly them all at once! We booked a tennis court and invited students from the Providence Career and Technical Academy to come and spectate our first drone swarm.
The drones’ downward facing camera requires visual texture in order to estimate velocity. Because the tennis courts are a single uniform color, students created highly textured surfaces by scribbling with markers on posterboards. Each student would hover their drone over it’s own posterboard.
3 2 1 Arm! 3 2 1 Takeoff!
With the buzzing of 1 million bees and some excited laughter, about 15 out of our 24 drones rose into the air. Only 15 you ask? For this particular flight demo, we had every student fly their drone as an access point and we found this resulted in significant networking issues. Here’s our scan of wifi frequencies at the tennis court:
For the next drone swarm we will be testing out different networking solutions to enable more people to fly simultaneously.
We handed out 25 drone kits two weeks ago, and had 24 flights in the past two weeks. All but one student finished their project (and that one dropped the class!) We are super excited that almost everyone achieved liftoff!
This video demonstrates the drone doing a zero velocity hover and drifting in the scene. Then we turn on position hold (you can tell because it drops the throttle as it takes over, and holds its position for several minutes.
Then we turn off the positon hold so you can see it drift again, and then turn it on again at the end and land. You can tell when it is turned on because we move the drone back to the center of the flight area before each hold.
We demonstrate the drone’s ability to hover in one place, holding its position. We can use a whole battery and stay in one spot!
The class is hard at work building their drones, and we have had four students that are able to fly so far!
We passed out 25 drone kits over the past few days!
Well we have a drone that flies, and the two new TAs have successfully built their drones and they fly too. We are almost ready to launch the course! Check out our video showing the drone performing velocity control!