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Raspberry Pi + TOF Sensors on the Tello

aaronlin

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drone.jpg sensor.jpg
Decided to try to add some sort of distance sensing and control to the Tello; it works pretty well!

The sensor are four VL53L0X sensors ($5 each on eBay) powered and controlled by a Raspberry Pi Zero W ($10).

Here's a video of the Tello moving away from my camera in four dimensions:


More information can be found here:



This is more of a proof-of-concept than an actual usable tool at this point. It would be cool to see others take this project further.
 

Fari

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Decided to try to add some sort of distance sensing and control to the Tello; it works pretty well!
[...]
This is more of a proof-of-concept than an actual usable tool at this point. It would be cool to see others take this project further.

Very very cool. Thanks for posting this.

Object collision isn't my main interest but loading the Tello with various chips and props should be one of my focus this winter.

Thanks for the repo address also!
 

cemoke

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Very cool project and I am very interested in it.

I designed and manufactured a PCB that can handle up to 12xVL53L1x sensors (4m version of the sensor you have used) and PCB also houses a STM32F103 MCU in order to process the data coming from the sensors. By the way, PCB together with the sensors weighs only 10 grams.

I am already using these PCBs in rovers in order to detect obstacles and kin robots, however I want to extend this project to drones as well.

The thing that I have in mind is to directly connect to TELLO's onboard PCB for regulated 5V and not having the need to add any external battery.

Finally, I also want to update the flight trajectory by using the MCU on the designed PCB by directly connecting it to the wi-fi antenna wires.

Do you think it is possible to bypass the wifi connection of the TELLO and use only the onboard equipment to autonomously fly?

Thanks in advance.
 
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aaronlin

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Very cool project and I am very interested in it.

I designed and manufactured a PCB that can handle up to 12xVL53L1x sensors (4m version of the sensor you have used) and PCB also houses a STM32F103 MCU in order to process the data coming from the sensors. By the way, PCB together with the sensors weighs only 10 grams.

I am already using these PCBs in rovers in order to detect obstacles and kin robots, however I want to extend this project to drones as well.

The thing that I have in mind is to directly connect to TELLO's onboard PCB for regulated 5V and not having the need to add any external battery.

Finally, I also want to update the flight trajectory by using the MCU on the designed PCB by directly connecting it to the wi-fi antenna wires.

Do you think it is possible to bypass the wifi connection of the TELLO and use only the onboard equipment to autonomously fly?

Thanks in advance.

Cool project! Your PCB sounds awesome.

Yes I am sharing the 5V between the Tello and Raspberry Pi. I haven't had any issues with this.

What do you mean by bypassing the wifi connection? Do you mean sending motor commands to the Tello motor drivers or sending desired pitch, roll, yaw angles using the Tello Wifi protocol over a wired connection?

The former option will probably perform better. The Tello fuses IMU, VO, range finder, etc. with some DJI algorithm that makes autonomous control hard to predict. My project works decently well, but only at slower velocities, and trajectories are not predictable as it relies on the DJI controller. Sending motor commands probably means adding an IMU and simple flight control with your current MCU or hacking the the Tello IMU as well, essentially rendering the Tello a piece of hardware for a DIY drone, but you will have more authority over the dynamics of the drone.

The latter option should be easier, but I am not well-versed in decoding the WiFi protocol, so I can't say how hard/time-consuming it will be to decode all those messages.
 

aaronlin

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Cool, nice office ;->

Does it make sense to use a NodeMCU or a similar device and micropython (bluetooth may be difficult)?

I did a quick google search and it seems like there are bluetooth capabilities with micropython. The ESP32 was the other microcontroller I was thinking about using actually; in theory it should work, but I have not tested it myself.
 

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