So the plan was to make the drones follow a simple lines on the ground, pausing periodically as though planning a next move. The drone had arrived, as had the Student Version of the Labview software. Immediately after the thrill of flying this amazing craft had worn off I ran into a significant problem! The Labview “toolkit” had no way of bringing the video (from the drone’s front or bottom camera’s) into Labview in a way I could use to control the drone. My Labview gurus had written the platform for AR Drone 1.0 (apparently 2.0 is significantly more difficult), and the native decoding was only available for the first version.
It’s a dilemma I’m still wrestling with, though I have an AR Drone 1.0 on order. I was somewhat gratified to read a passage in my Control Systems book, for class, that effectively summed up the haphazard course by which this whole process has evolved (from Modern Control Systems, Dorf):
“Design is a processs that may proceed in manny directions before the desired one is found. It is a deliberate process by which a designer creates something new in response to a recognized need while recognizing realistic constraints. The design process is inherently iterative–we must start somewhere! Successful engineers learn to simplify complex systems appropriately for design and analysis purposes. A gap between the complex physical system and the design model is inevitable. Design gaps are intrisic in the progression from the initial concept to the final product. We know intuitively that it is easier to improve an initial concept incrementally than to try to create a final deign at the start. In other words, engineering design is not a linear process. It is an iterative, nonlinear, creative process.
The main approach to the most effective engineering design is parameter analysis and optimization. Parameter analysis is based on (1) identification of the key parameters, (2) generation of the system configuration, (3) evaluation of how well the configuration meets the needs. These three steps form an iterative loop. Once the key parameters are identified and the configuration synthesized, the designer can optimize the parameters. Typically, the designer strives to identify a limited set of parameters to be adjusted.”