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A Ready-To-Fly Quadcopter

Consumer electronics
Embedded software development
Embedded hardware development
Drone
Firmware development

About

Drones are cool. While some of the most common use cases for drones and quadcopters are photography and videography, lots of people buy them just for fun. Because flying around the skies like a bird is amazing!

Request

A DIY store owner from California decided to expand their catalog of products. They decided to build a small drone that could be controlled over a Sony PlayStation 2 gamepad or any other compatible wireless gamepad.

Solution

Integra Sources had already worked with this client on another  Atmel AVR XMega project where we had to build an autopilot module for a DIY drone that hobbyists buy for their engineering projects. But this time we needed to create a small quadcopter that people would buy for their kids to play.

Our client provided us with the mechanics and our hardware team needed to design the electronics – a printed circuit board and firmware. 

To make it possible for users to enjoy long flights, we needed to increase the battery life by decreasing the drone's weight and power consumption.

Technologies Used

ATXmega series MCU with AVR core was used for this project.
Altium Designer IDE was used for Schematics and PCB design.
The quadcopter has a gyroscope, accelerometer, RF module, and motors.
The quadcopter can be controlled by Sony PlayStation 2 wireless joystick.
The firmware is written in C/C++ using AVR Studio IDE.
We ported Ardupilot, open source autopilot software for implementing the flight control mode.

Result

The quadcopter we created is 10x10 centimeters in size. We reduced the power consumption and enabled the drone to communicate with PS2 gamepads or wireless gamepads that people normally have at home. This was a good idea because otherwise, consumers would have to buy joysticks and RC transmitters specifically to be able to control their drones.

We were short on time, but we managed to meet the deadlines and completed the project in about two months.

Make some noise

Scope of work

Schematics design

PCB design

Prototypes assembly

Hardware testing

Firmware development

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