Robust Drone Mission in the Arctic

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Signaler och system; Uppsala universitet/Signaler och system

Author: Elvira Brenner; Oscar Hultmar; [2020]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: During environmental research projects in the Arctic region AFRY has come across an unproportionally high number of cases where the navigation of drones have not worked as intended, compared to other regions. The main objective of this thesis is to investigate the cause of these navigational problems and determine the main cause. A second objective is to design a solution that can mitigate these observed errors and improve the navigation. To establish the main error sources flight logs from flight tests performed at Svalbard are analyzed. The drone considered in this project is a quadcopter with a Pixhawk Cube flight controller and the Ardupilot software. A Pixhawk Here+ module is used for external sensors. The data logs show several cases of drones having troubles flying along a straight line. Analyzing the sensor data for the flights show that many of the flights suffer from the gyroscope drifting around the z-axis. The data show that the varying temperature on the IMU board is the cause of the drifting gyroscope. The on-board heaters did not manage to keep the temperature constant due to a too high target temperature and low outside temperatures. The system is aided with information from the magnetometer to estimate the drift around the z-axis. Results show that the estimation system is having trouble correctly estimating large drifts. To investigate why the magnetometer cannot properly compensate for the gyroscope, simulations of the magnetometer and estimation system are made. The results show that an increasing angle of inclination increases the gyroscope bias estimation errors. The large angle of inclination causes the horizontal components of the magnetic field to become too small for the magnetometer to measure correctly. The solution consists of instructions on how to operate the drone to properly use the on-board heaters, as well as an external module consisting of multiple magnetometers. Multiple magnetometers reduced the variance in the readings, but did not reach the accuracy needed to replace the external magnetometers on the drone. A better calibration method could be explored in the future, or another solution such as an improved magnetometer, a gyro compass, a GPS compass or dual GNSS antennas.

  AT THIS PAGE YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE ESSAY. (follow the link to the next page)