Welcome to our RF/Autonomous Blimp Beaver Source Wiki!
44X Senior project
Project Name: RF/Autonomous Blimp
1. Project Overview
The goal of this project is to build a remote controlled aerial blimp with autonomous navigational abilities. The aircraft should be able to fly under the control of a user at a range of up to 50 feet, and should be able to navigate in all 3 dimensions. The blimp will be able to keep track of its position using input from 3 one-dimensional accelerometers. It will use the data acquired by these sensors to aid in the piloting of the blimp.
Piloting a blimp using a remote control is a process that requires a lot of skill to master. Our blimp will take advantage of its inertial sensing capabilities to provide a great deal of aid to the pilot. The first and most important function of our automated control system is stabilization. Due to the low mass of the blimp, it will be very susceptible to environmental conditions such as wind. Using feedback from the accelerometers, the blimp will be able to maintain its aerial position without requiring constant attention and manipulation from the pilot. Another ability that the accelerometers will allow is an auto-docking feature, in which the blimp will be able to return to its original position with only the press of a button. This greatly reduces the skill required in order to dock the blimp in a tight location, in turn greatly enhancing the usability of the aircraft.
In addition, our blimp will be able to implement some sorts of collision detection capabilities. The possibilities that this will open up, especially in conjunction with its autonomous flight capabilities are very intriguing. Instead of being limited to pre-mapped autonomous routes, the blimp will be able to use the collision detection data to fly "intelligently", being able to maneuver around obstacles or even perform reconnaissance missions. The combination of collision detection along with the motion-sensing capability of the accelerometers should provide our blimp with the capability to perform many exciting autonomous tasks.
With no specific sponsor or mentor, the following is a short list of the needs of the project that we agreed upon:
* Blimp must have fully autonomous capabilities. The blimp needs to fly without any manual control. The blimp should be intelligent enough to carry out commands and directions without a user "steering" it the entire way. However, a manual mode should still be included.
* Blimp must be user-friendly. All controls and instructions for using the blimp should be easy to understand and intuitive. All controls must be natural for a human user, and any software used throughout the project must be error free and include a GUI for the end user.
* Blimp must be durable. Due to the complexity and sensitive nature of the blimp structure, it is imperative that we strive for durability in our design. The blimp must not be prone to physical malfunctions. Therefore, we will use a high quality blimp to protect the equipment mounted to the blimp as well as prevent the end-user from excess maintenance.
* System should allow for maximum flexibility and control by the user. The control system needs to be designed with the user in mind. All software must be written to give the user complete control, even at the cost of simplicity. A significant control distance must be also designed for in the RF control.
* Entire system must be of reasonable cost. Without a sponsor, we will place a strong focus on keeping the cost of parts and blimp structure to a minimum. This will allow any replications of the design to be cost-effective as well.
5.1 Power Supply
5.2 User Interface
5.3 Bluetooth Transceiver
5.5 Micro-controller Code
5.6 Motor Controller
5.8 Navigation Sensor
5.9 Collision Sensor
*Cyrus Heick (mailto:heickc(at)onid.orst.edu?subject=RF/Autonomous_Blimp)
*Chris Stoddard (mailto:stoddarc(at)onid.orst.edu?subject=RF/Autonomous_Blimp)
*Thomas Shepherd (mailto:shephert(at)onid.orst.edu?subject=RF/Autonomous_Blimp)