Python and drones

By | DIY, Programming | No Comments

I continue with Python. This time a very interesting topic related to Python and drones.

A course of titled “Autonomous Navigation for Flying Robots” based on Python.
It’s about creating code to make drones fly autonomously.

I am doing this with a course in Coursera.orgAn Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python” which is near the end. We will finish by coding the Asteroids game, a classic.

In Autonomous Navigation we have already done a good deal of linear algebra: vectors, matrices, rotations, etc..but there is still a lot to go.

The truth is, this course has a big portion of challenge because I need to refresh algebra from many years ago, but on the other side I always loved maths and I enjoy recalling some concepts.
When I think why I always loved math, apart form the fact that it was the subject where I was better at, I believe it’s because they were exact. If you find a solution you are also able to know on your own that the solution is correct. A full theoretical construct based on few axioms, perfectly structured. I liked that we were learning how to prove theorems, instead of learning them by memory. The advantage is that you well understand and it is easy to remember or to prove again. Well, let’s stop talking about myself.

The drone used as a basis for the course is the Parrot AR Drone, provided with quite some sensors and an API.

We use simulators in the course, but you could perfectly use one, in case you are lucky to have one…

What have we done up to now? well in fact it’s only 2 weeks of course. We have touched 2D algebra and the homework was to program the drone using the numpy library that let’s you use matrices, to calculate global position where the drone is at any time, based on odometry (velocity in axes x and y, rotation angle of drone).


The simulator and the Python code. I deleted part of the solution, logically

This week we start with 3D… šŸ˜€

There are two fantastic TED videos showing the capabilities of drones in autonomous flights.
Vijay Kumar – Robots that fly … and cooperate

Raffaello D’Andrea – The astounding athletic power of quadcopters