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March Update

With 5 months left until the International Aerial Robotics Competition, we’d like to give you an update on our progress as an organization. We’ll be attempting to complete Mission 8 by using multiple drones which will act as a swarm to collect information from pieces of QR codes hidden behind barriers. More information on the competition can be found on the competition website.

We have made great progress on the project this semester. Our Computations team has created a working model of the Mission 8 arena complete with bunkers, obstacles, and a human model with rudimentary controls. Our Computer Vision Team has built a modified version of ORB SLAM, which uses image features to determine each quadcopters’ position in real time. We have also successfully networked multiple Jetsons for swarm interaction, completed an android application for voice control of the drones, and finished the flight code.

We encourage all to follow along at our Facebook page - where we post weekly updates - and check out our code on our GitHub - where we post our development process in action.

Our next steps are even more exciting. We are currently working on developing our simulation environment to be run in virtual reality, so a user can work with the drones and attempt to complete the mission in virtual reality. We are also developing the collision avoidance and remote sensing capabilities of our drones, and we hope to be able to detect the hostile drones soon.

As we approach the end of the academic year, we are facing perhaps our greatest challenge: making ends meet. Thanks to a few generous donors, we have been able to afford top-of-the-line simulation computers and drone components for our first prototype. We are still facing some of our biggest expenses: travel and drone construction. We are currently about $12,000, or 30% short of our funding needs to complete our mission this academic year. Texas Aerial Robotics is provides training with application in high-demand skills: supporting our mission saves a lot of time and money on training future employees Donors are invited to attend the International Aerial Robotics Competition in late July in Atlanta, GA to watch us compete and network with the best, most qualified aerial robotics students from universities across the country and around the world.

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