Automating high-precision tasks with drones
While the GPS may be enough for a variety of tasks, when it comes to precisely checking tank levels or approaching a precise object on the ground, it’s just not precise enough. First, we need to gather a list of these tasks and evaluate what precision they would need (an error of less than 1 meter ? 5 centimeters ?).
Multiple techniques, that are already studied here at UCLouvain, will be tested to improve the precision of the drone and help it focus on particular points. For example, color dots or special QR codes can be positioned near an object or on top of it to assist the drone for positioning itself. The camera takes a picture then the on-board computer can analyze its position but also its inclination angle to the surface. Recognizing the shapes requires different tweaks depending on the environment, and a Martian-like reddish ground with rocks is very different than the clean gray floor of a building. If successful this may come handy for an experiment of our Commander, Carl-Henrik, which may require to gently dropping cubic probes of high value in a specific position.
For even further precision, a theodolite (the large measuring stick used by surveyors) and a prism could be used to guide the drone with an error margin smaller than an inch.