November 2016

We were motivated to build an efficient way of studying existing infrastructure. At Aerohacks (an aerospace themed hackathon at Georgia Tech), we used a Parrot AR Drone 2.0 to navigate around a structure and record distance measurements from the onboard IR sensors. This helped create a CAD model containing a set of numerous points traversed on the structure by the drones’ flight path around the object. The drone traverses the length of the whole structure and moves around the structure in layers. For each horizontal slice, the drone uses the IR sensors (added using an m-bed microcontroller) to determine the distance from it to the structure. Using the pre-determined motion (which we have chosen to be a square in this case for stability and a simple proof of concept), and the reading from the sensor, we can determine the coordinate for the point the drone is at. With visual representations of the structures available at one's fingertips, multi-disciplinary (civil and aerospace) engineering students and even amateur designers can get a whole new perspective on the design and engineering projects they're working on; this may even serve as a platform for future inspiration.

Tasks Performed:
  1. NodeJS Interfacing with the Parrot API
  2. Solid Works CAD Drawings
  3. Using MATLAB to link the incoming data stream with the CAD tool