Due to military use, photography, agriculture, and recreation, the drone industry is growing rapidly. UAVs are finding their way into the lives of many individuals. Companies are delivering packages, putting out fires, fighting crime and foreign insurgency, analyzing crops, scanning buildings being constructed, and much, much more. The goal of this project is to teach students the programming, electrical, and mechanical skills needed to build safe, efficient, commercially viable drones. This drone project is going to first teach the team how to build a drone, as the experience gained by constructing such a complex vehicle provides an incredible amount of insight to the workings of electrical systems and how they can interface with the code that runs them. The second stage of the team would be to manipulate the drone(s) into different aspects and fields of use. On the competitive side we can change the body and infrastructure to become a racing drone and participate in the drone racing leagues around the state or even the country due to the increasing popularity of this sport. But modifying the body to incorporate more sensors and a larger camera would allow the vehicle to partake in civil use for assisting in tasks that would normally be much more difficult for humans to complete unaided. And knowing that drones are now being used in the crime fighting world will allow us to make public areas safer without the risk of losing officers or accidental crossfire with civilians; drones are dispensable unlike the life of a human being. And that is only a small sample of what drones can do.

This project applies to a wide variety of majors, as mechanical engineers are needed in the actual drone design and construction, electrical engineers for wiring and circuit design, and computer scientists for programming microcontroller functions, and networking the drone and it’s operator. This project aims to take a cross disciplinary approach to solving a real world problem.

To kick off the project, we are proposing to construct a racing drone that will be controlled by a human operator, and work our way towards it eventually having autonomous capabilities. This project will give group members the opportunity to be part of an interdisciplinary team to solve a complicated design problem. By the end of this project’s development period, members of the team will know how to efficiently and safely design, construct, program, and skillfully operate a UAV quad-copter.

Phase 1:

The team will start building a UAV quad-copter by ordering required components and building from pre-designed parts.

We will start by building with predesigned parts in order to generate a common knowledge as to what the individual components do and how they work. This is done to increase efficiency and safety during Phase 3 of our project.

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The parts for version 1 of the drone have arrived

Phase 2:

This phase includes finishing constructing the pre­designed Racing Drone with remote control. Additional sensors will be mounted to begin learning on how they work and how to best implement them.

Additionally, research on viable programming languages will begin for those who are uncomfortable or feel they are not as adept at doing so in order to be prepared to code by next semester

Phase 3:

The Spring 2016 semester will be spent programming the drone to do various tasks and gradually replacing the pre-designed parts bought during the Fall 2016 semester with team-designed and programmed microcontroller boards.