Blog 6: Week of 7/13/18
Andrew Brown reporting back one again! This week began with disappointment and was followed by an uneasy and discouraging middle, but it ended in victory!!!
As I mentioned last week, Dr. Bradley came in Monday morning to help me troubleshoot the crazyflie. After a few minutes of discussion, we decided that it would be best for me to move on from the old script and see if I could apply the new one. Dr. Bradley reasoned that the research aspect of this project requires the drone to do on-board trajectory planning, and because this new script allows the drone to do this while the old one does not, I should forget about the old script and apply the new one. Because of this decision it was my turn, once again, to sit and figure out how to follow the script and get the crazyflie in the air. I was looking forward to having someone else with more experience than I have help me trouble shoot the old script, so the fact that I had to leave behind this help and move into the uncertain realm of getting the new script run was quite disappointing.
Throughout the week my fears were mostly confirmed. There seemed to be all sorts of unexplainable failures to overcome such as: Why will not the radio flash the new firmware to the crazyflie? Why will not the “scan” tool find the new radio now that I have flashed it with new firmware? Why does will not my Wi-Fi bridge reset correctly when I unplug the USB drive? And worst of all: Why cannot I get Vicon to talk to my new virtual machine?
Little by little I discovered little tweaks and fixes and got each step in the new script working properly. I spent a full day trying to Vicon to work. Finally, I gave up and asked AJ for help. It took him ten minutes. I had forgotten to add Vicon to the “hosts” permissions file on the new virtual machine – very frustrating.
Liam was in and out of my little room on Wednesday and Thursday just to see what I was doing and offer trouble shooting suggestions. I have been grateful for his input. I have also sent a few questions to the creator of the crazyflie script, and he has responded! His input has allowed me to make the computer communicate with the crazyflie radio and to make the radio communicate with the drone.
Talking with Liam gave me an idea for why the computer kept giving me a timeout error when trying to connect to the drone. I ended Tuesday by getting the R-Viz GUI up, even though I still could not run the crazyflie. Finally, today I came in, gave the computer the correct positional information for the drone, and hit the hover button. The crazyflie lifted off the ground and hovered smack dab in the middle of the room just as it was supposed to! I ran and got Liam to come look. Shannon heard the commotion and came to see, and Carl arrived just as I was celebrating with Shannon and Liam. It was a great moment – all four of us standing outside of the room watching the crazyflie hover like a proud bird just learned to fly!
I hope to have two drones flying at once by the end of the day. This weekend I need to read some papers so that I can start on the actual research part of the project next week. I am excited and relieved finally to have broken through this crazyflie wall. I hope the next stage of the project goes smoothly so that I can write my paper and complete my poster without having to scramble too much last minute.
Blog 6: Week of 7/13/18