Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Watch: autonomous drone programmed by Jacobs School students avoids obstacles


A team of students in the Jacobs School's Embedded System Design Project class (CSE 145) programmed an autonomous drone to avoid obstacles. This is their first test flight.

CSE 145 is teaching students to build an embedded computing system. They learn the fundamentals of  microcontrollers, sensors and actuators. Students are also introduced to end-to-end system building and the hardware and software tools they will need to build a project in a team environment.

Video courtesy of computer science student David Dantas, who is also an IDEA Scholar. He worked on the project with team mates Miles Minton and Abe Hart (their adviser is CSE Prof. Ryan Kastner).

Video of an earlier demo:

From the course description: 

We are seeing substantial integration of computing systems into common objects. Such embedded systems silently control countless aspects of our life including our cars, phones, appliances, etc. And as computing hardware becomes cheaper and more powerful, we are capable of integrating it’s sophisticated intelligence everywhere. This is having an enormous societal impact, enabling advances in communications, medicine, and transportation, among many other things.  Yet, computer science courses are largely focused on traditional desktop computing despite the fact that over 99% of the microprocessors sold are used for embedded computing. Evidence for the success of this project class is extremely positive. Students are tremendously self-motivated when they are allowed to develop a project of their choosing.

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