Obstacle "Sense and Avoid" using Stereo Vision for Unmanned Aerial Systems

We have received a small award to pursue Stereo Vision on board small unmanned aircraft (aka drones, quad-copters, multi-copters). Obstacle sense and avoid (SAA) on board aerial vehicles is a key technology that needs to be addressed in order to meet the FAA safety requirements for future integration of drones into the civil airspace. Visual approaches, such as stereo vision, can play an important role in meeting these requirements.

We will be working with the 3D Robotics X8 copter and a set of embedded cameras. Students interested in being involved, please contact me.

Illustration of depth perception using stereo cameras3D Robotics X8 copter

Projects in Embedded Systems Design Course (Fall 2014)

ECE473 Embedded Systems Design for Fall 2014 has concluded recently. In the course, we work with ARM Cortex-M4F microcontrollers, mainly using the TI Tiva C Launchpad. The following are some of the final projects student teams have designed and implemented (in about 3 weeks).

Motorcycle Tilt Meter and Warning System
Entails interfacing a 3-axis accelerometer to measure tilt, a circular LED array, and designing a wheel RPM sensor to measure motorcycle velocity. Software and modeling challenges include identifying the safe tilt angle as a function of velocity.

Project by: Jason Learst and Alfred Kishek

2048 Game
Implementing the popular 2048 game on the embedded hardware. Entails interfacing a graphics LCD display, a matrix keypad, and developing the game engine.

Project by: Chuanzhi Yi and Hongsheng Wang

Location Reporting and Recording for High Altitude Balloons
Entails interfacing a GPS receiver, an SD Card, and a GSM modem. File System implementation is a major software component.

Project by: Gabriel Church, Nadeem Kizi, Felipe Marliere, Michael Azar

KySat-2 secondary model selected for deployement from International Space Station

NASA has awarded payload flight opportunities for research and technology development onboard the International Space Station to academic institutions across the U.S. Among the selected projects is the launch and deployment of the KySat-2 secondary model from the ISS. The primary model KySat-2 was launched by NASA on November 19, 2013 out of Wallops Island, VA.

kysat-2_flight_modelsThe research experiment includes several systems and experiments designed by Dr. Rawashdeh at the Space Systems Laboratory at the University of Kentucky. Specifically, a flight test of the Stellar Gyroscope concept, and analysis and of attitude dynamics using the SNAP simulation tool. The Rawashdeh group at UM-Dearborn will continue to support the mission, mainly in analyzing the experiment data. More on the KySat-2 Mission can be found here.

The awards are through NASA’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). The official press release can be found here, with abstracts here.

Abbreviated abstract:

The primary mission is to test a new method of attitude determination for small spacecraft called the stellar gyroscope, which estimates attitude changes by analyzing the relative motion of stars between successive image frames, lowering the computational and power requirements necessary to propagate attitude changes. Launch from the ISS will allow characterization the stellar gyroscope hardware, verification of the sensitivity of the sensor for star imaging as well as the image processing required on-orbit. Additionally, ejection from the ISS altitude will allow analysis of the ejection dynamics of the spacecraft using the Smart Nanosatellite Attitude Propagator (SNAP) tool to characterize atmospheric drag for Low Earth Orbit (LEO) CubeSats.