We explain how to design and build autonomous indoor drones and what indoor positioning systems to use to track indoor drones when they are not autonomous. Though we focus on indoor drones, the system works perfectly well outdoor as well.
When you are very new to the Marvelmind Indoor “GPS” system and you are not sure what to choose, just get the Starter Set Super-MP (MP – acronym of multi-purpose) and that would be your safest choice.
For more specifics, study the recommended options below.
Overall the best and the safest choice, when you are not sure what to choose or what exact experiments you will run, but you want to have the greatest flexibility and the greatest performance at the same time.
The set is designed for micro-drones (<100g), because the Mini-TX mobile beacon is tiny and light. The set can be well used for larger drones as well, but the ultrasonic pulses (and the range) on Mini-TX is smaller than the same of Super-Beacons or Beacons HW v4.9. Though, it is easily 15-20m, which is sufficient for the majority of real cases.
An advanced version of the “Starter Set Super-MP-3D + Super-Beacon – Location+Direction on the drone” option.
The Precise-Z, which physically consists of 2 additional stationary beacons on gives a possibility to have precise Z coordinates in all ranges of Z.
– Placement Manual – Precise-Z slide
– Video explanation about Z and placement of beacons
– https://marvelmind.com/product/super-beacon/ – additional stationary beacons for Precise-Z feature
If you are not sure, just send us an email to email@example.com with detailed questions and we will be happy to help and advise.
Marvelmind indoor positioning system or Marvelmind Indoor “GPS” is widely used for drones or quadcopters in many different ways:
Marvelmind Indoor “GPS” supports both PixHawk with ArduPilot and PX4:
There are quite many, but rather basic aspects that have to be taken into account to successfully fly indoor:
See the Products page for different starter sets options.
However, just 3 stationary beacons would have little resiliency against obstructions. Any occlusion of any stationary beacon – non-line of sight/hearing situation – will lead to no tracking or erroneous tracking. Very much ike in GPS: “no satellites visibility = no GPS coordinates = no tracking”.
Thus, we recommend, at least, N+1 redundancy for stationary beacons. And that is why our starter sets for 3D consist of 4 stationary beacons.
Even better is to have 2N redundancy with fully overlapping 3D submaps. That would be either 3+3 or 4+4 stationary beacons. The system would automatically choose the best submap for tracking. That kind of system is very resilient and with proper placement of the beacons, you can fly even in complex rooms with columns, for example, without issues with tracking.
The key for the great tracking is to provide proper coverage at any flight point, i.e. the mobile beacons on the drone must have 3 or more stationary beacons belonging to the same submap with clear direct line of sight/hearing within 30m.
Proper placement is the key usually and particularly important to drones, because they require 3D; the drones are fast; and the mistakes may be particularly costly. What to pay attention to?
The minimum configuration for the drone tracking would be any NIA set with 3D capability. For example, 3 stationary beacons + 1 mobile beacon + 1 modem and Non-Inverse Architecture (NIA) or Multi-Frequency NIA (MF NIA) would be already OK for the drone.
It is quite popular to use drones for warehouse inspection – finding lost pallets, security, etc. Yes, it is a doable task, but very complex in practice:
Nevertheless, the solution is very promising. Thus, drone builders or builders of warehouse systems use our indoor positioning system for such solutions. In the video we explain peculiarities of the environment (narrow aisles and high shelves) and how the peculiarities affect accuracy and how to build the system optimally.
It is possible to build an autonomous landing platform for a drone. It can be even a moving one:
Drone flies using regular RTK GPS or even GPS when it is far and then up to 30m distance from the platform it is locked to the Indoor “GPS” coordinates and is landing based on these coordinates. As mentioned, the platform may be static against earth or moving. It doesn’t matter for the drone. So, you can precisely land on a moving vehicle, for example.