Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Indoor UGV and UAV demo using QuaRC

We recently set up an interesting demo using the Quanser Qbot (autonomous UGV platform based on the iRobot Create) and a Draganfly quadrotor equipped with a Quanser Embedded Control Module (QECM). We wanted to create a mission where the Qbot would navigate through a series of waypoints autonomously and have the quadrotor follow the Qbot from the air. Since we were working indoors, we used the NaturalPoint OptiTrack vision tracking system, which is integrated in QuaRC, Quanser's real-time control software. The entire mission was programmed using QuaRC Simulink blocks, and the vehicle controls run on-board the vehicles on embedded computers with wifi.

We put markers on our vehicles, and through the OptiTrack QuaRC blocks we were able to localize the vehicles in the room. Quanser stream blocks were used to transmit the vehicle position data to the Qbot and the quadrotor so they know their positions. The Qbot is able to then successfully navigate through a series of waypoints input by the user, and the quadrotor provides an aerial escort throughout the mission. This is a relatively simple mission, but the flexibility of the veihcles and lab setup means that there is huge potential for developing more advanced missions with even more vehicles.

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