Building Smart Drones with ESP8266 and Arduino
eBook - ePub

Building Smart Drones with ESP8266 and Arduino

Syed Omar Faruk Towaha

  1. English
  2. ePUB (apto para móviles)
  3. Disponible en iOS y Android
eBook - ePub

Building Smart Drones with ESP8266 and Arduino

Syed Omar Faruk Towaha

Detalles del libro
Vista previa del libro

Información del libro

Leverage the WiFi chip to build exciting Quadcopters

Key Features

  • Learn to create a fully functional Drone with Arduino and ESP8266 and their modified versions of hardware.
  • Enhance your drone's functionalities by implementing smart features.
  • A project-based guide that will get you developing next-level drones to help you monitor a particular area with mobile-like devices.

Book Description

With the use of drones, DIY projects have taken off. Programmers are rapidly moving from traditional application programming to developing exciting multi-utility projects.

This book will teach you to build industry-level drones with Arduino and ESP8266 and their modified versions of hardware.

With this book, you will explore techniques for leveraging the tiny WiFi chip to enhance your drone and control it over a mobile phone. This book will start with teaching you how to solve problems while building your own WiFi controlled Arduino based drone. You will also learn how to build a Quadcopter and a mission critical drone. Moving on you will learn how to build a prototype drone that will be given a mission to complete which it will do it itself. You will also learn to build various exciting projects such as gliding and racing drones. By the end of this book you will learn how to maintain and troubleshoot your drone.

By the end of this book, you will have learned to build drones using ESP8266 and Arduino and leverage their functionalities to the fullest.

What you will learn

  • Includes a number of projects that utilize different ESP8266 and Arduino capabilities, while interfacing with external hardware
  • Covers electrical engineering and programming concepts, interfacing with the World through analog and digital sensors, communicating with a computer and other devices, and internet connectivity
  • Control and fly your quadcopter, taking into account weather conditions
  • Build a drone that can follow the user wherever he/she goes
  • Build a mission-control drone and learn how to use it effectively
  • Maintain your vehicle as much as possible and repair it whenever required

Who this book is for

If you are a programmer or a DIY enthusiast and keen to create a fully functional drone with Arduino and ESP8266, then this book is for you. Basic skills in electronics and programming would be beneficial. This book is not for the beginners as it includes lots of ideas not detailed how you can do that. If you are a beginner, then you might get lost here. The prerequisites of the book include a good knowledge of Arduino, electronics, programming in C or C++ and lots of interest in creating things out of nothing.

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Computer Science
Home Automation

Building a Follow Me Drone

In Chapter 3, Preparing Your Drone for Flying, you learned how to build a simple DIY drone. In this chapter, we will be learning how you can give it a mind of its own. Imagine you are walking or riding a bike and a drone is following you; wouldn't that be cool?
In this chapter, we will see how we can build such a drone. In this chapter, we will also learn how we can train the drone to do something, or give the drone artificial intelligence by coding from scratch. There are several ways to build Follow Me-type drones. We will learn easy and quick ways in this chapter. Before going any further, let's learn the basics of a Follow Me drone.

What is a Follow Me drone?

A Follow Me drone follows a device or an object; the device can be your phone or a device with some sensors that continuously communicate with the drone to get the right position. If it follows an object, then there is some machine learning involved with the system. Some drones can do image processing and follow an object. For example, if you train your drone to follow dogs, you need to teach it how to detect an object and compare it with a dog and follow it, which is a little complicated. But in this chapter, you will be given some ideas that can be implemented for building your own Follow Me drone. As we were talking about following a device with the Follow Me drone, you may have guessed that the position might be determined by the GPS sensor. And, of course, you need other sensors for the drone to locate your position correctly; thus, the receiver and sender create a communication between them and follows the device. The speed of communication also needs to be faster in some cases, because you know what happens when you are walking and your pet dog is not following you. Follow Me drones are like air dogs to me. Simply, they can follow something, and they can do some simple things such as taking photos or recording videos.
If your drone is capable of doing complex things like face detecting, object targeting, and so on. then the processing speed of the drone's brain should be higher than the communication speed between the RC receiver and the drone.

Making a Follow Me drone using ArduPilot

It is super easy to build a Follow Me drone using ArduPilot. You just need to change some settings and buy a USB dongle, which is a GPS receiver. There are a few types of USB dongles that go with ArduPilot, but the official one to use is the GlobalSat ND-100S USB GPS dongle, or you can use a USB dongle or a GPS-embedded Bluetooth module such as the GlobalSat BT-368i Bluetooth GPS receiver. The following picture shows both types of modules:
You will also need telemetry for setting up the modules with the ArduPilot software. Setting up the modules is easy:
  1. Firstly, take your drone to a suitable place for flying and connect it via MAVLink using telemetry.
  2. Now, connect your USB dongle or Bluetooth receiver to your laptop.
Make sure the dongle is connected and powered from the USB port of your laptop.
  1. You can check if your module is working by using the software of the module you use, or the LED built on it.
  2. Set the GPS position locked before the take off or increasing the throttle speed. Now, gradually take off the drone and keep it at a sufficient altitude (I suggest at least 7-8 feet), and switch the flying mode to Loiter. For those who do not know what the Loiter mode is, you may check the upcumming note. This will lock the drone in to position.
  3. Now, on your Mission Planner software, go to the Flight Data Screen and right-click any position you want and select Fly to Here. If your drone flies to the place you just selected, then your Follow Me drone is almost ready.
  4. Now, if everything works, on the Mission Planner click Ctl+F or Command+F to open a setting and click the Follow Me button.
  5. When you click the Follow Me button, your computer will try to use the dongle you connected to it by showing a window, as follows:
  1. Select the proper COM port and the name of the device and click on Connect.
Loiter mode is an automatic mode in which the copter tries to maintain the current location, the altitude, and the heading. To do this, the copter must have a good GPS receiver. In this mode, the pilot feels safe as the hand is kind of released from the sticks of the controller. You can find the settings in the Mission Planner (Configuration | APM Copter | PIDs? | Loiter PID). There, you can set up the PIDs and speed as you want. To learn more about this, you can visit


  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright and Credits
  3. Packt Upsell
  4. Contributors
  5. Preface
  6. Things to Know Before You Build a Drone
  7. Assembling Your Drone
  8. Preparing Your Drone for Flying
  9. Building a Follow Me Drone
  10. Building a Mission Control Drone
  11. Building a Drone to Take Selfies and Record Videos
  12. Building Prototype Drones – Gliding Drones
  13. Building Prototype Drones – Racing Drones
  14. Maintaining and Troubleshooting Your Drone
  15. Other Books You May Enjoy