Controlling quad via laser

Discussion in 'Experimentation' started by navinl16, Oct 27, 2016.

  1. navinl16

    navinl16 New Member

    Hello everyone, so basically what I would like to achieve is controlling a quadcopter by using a laser. My main goal is to point to a location using a laser and have the quad copter go to that location. In theory I can see the laser providing the direction in which to go, but not the distance. Any ideas or help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Flip1196

    Flip1196 Flip1196

    Since we live in a 3 dimensional world I believe you would not be able to control but 2 dimensions with a laser. You could point the laser to a destination in the sky and the quad would fly there on the X and Y axis. The Z axis or depth axis would be harder to control. You might be able to write a program using GPS/LASER telemetry to obtain the x and y and point the laser directly at the quad to stop it on the z. The problem would be distance....the quad would have to be in sight at all times and therefore make this a very short flight. With that being start at the beginning and expand on the idea. Great idea though. Good luck.
  3. GJH105775

    GJH105775 Avid Linux User, and USAF 1C6 Moderator

    There are laser based transmitters and receivers used for other stuff outside or the hobby, you could use one for a super high bandwidth, high range LOS. They require tracker systems and generally costly equipment.

    ;) controlled by lasers at least
  4. GJH105775

    GJH105775 Avid Linux User, and USAF 1C6 Moderator

    Also you might want to take a look at doing an open cv based project if you're willing to do the work it takes.
  5. Gabriel Yee

    Gabriel Yee Well-Known Member

    When I read your post for some reason it reminded me about the transformers...point a lasr at your target to destroy it!

    Laser is used to measure the distance so the location can be pinpointed accurately, this technology is indeed used by the military, but I don't think a commercial drone exists to make use of this.
    Would me for a great university project though
    GJH105775 likes this.
  6. GJH105775

    GJH105775 Avid Linux User, and USAF 1C6 Moderator

    If you wanted to make the quad follow the laser dot as it is pointed on a flat surface it would not be too hard, though the b ase before getting to the actual part where the program decides where to go is probably harder. There are some open source projects that I
    d suggest you check out for stabilization and basic movement. After that I'd start into some openCV tutorials and demos. It is a pretty simple task to decide where the dot is in a video, how the video should affect the craft, and where to to as long as you're talking about flat surfaces.
  7. Gabriel Yee

    Gabriel Yee Well-Known Member

    On a flat surface everything would be much easier, but in the real world there would be lots of problems, like your point of view is different from the drone so it might not be able to "see" the dot.
    This might be easier if the laser was integrated within the drone and you could determine it's location from the FPV.
    GJH105775 likes this.
  8. GJH105775

    GJH105775 Avid Linux User, and USAF 1C6 Moderator

    I agree, however you could do a proof of concept, although I see basically no real world uses.
  9. Gabriel Yee

    Gabriel Yee Well-Known Member

    uhm...Drone attacks :)
    Bang bang
  10. shephard101

    shephard101 New Member

    Gabriel thought about transformers, but i thought about Battle Los Angeles. The scene that soldier use laser to pin point an alien to be shoot. But i love the idea actually, one day maybe it could happen.
  11. GJH105775

    GJH105775 Avid Linux User, and USAF 1C6 Moderator

    Well we do have people that laser designate targets. If you use an IR laser it is invisible to the eye, but VERY visible to IR equipment.
  12. navinl16

    navinl16 New Member

    Actually I was planning to have a real world use for it. I wanted to attach a laser to a binoculars. And use the camera which I'll use with open CV to detect the laser dot and find a way to calculate the coordinates. The quad would then fly to the given point, maybe through opencv thoroughly or maybe an attached sensor to the quad. At the point I'd drop a flotation device. I basically want to use it to help drowning victims in beaches or lakes etc. It's just a little project I want to try, all in theory, hopefully get me a prototype going.
    Gyro Doctor likes this.
  13. Gyro Doctor

    Gyro Doctor Electronics Tech for over 45 years

    I like your idea, but there's some aspects of it that would make it difficult, at best, which perhaps you hadn't considered.

    Laser range finders are an off-the-shelf item that you could either buy or mimic the sop for and incorporate into your drone,
    BUT in order for that to work the "target" must be able to reflect the light BACK to a sensor. :oops:

    Laser designation is relatively easier: It's basically a souped up version of the simple "line follower" robot/toy (but reversed).
    In the toy three sensors are used which look at light/dark. When the center sensor see no light (the dark line) no steering input is given.
    When the left sensor sees the line it generates a "steer left" command until the line is centered again; similar routine for the right side.
    This way the toy stays centered on the dark line and keeps following it. Advanced laser designation uses sensors to steer the missile or whatever by the same method but centering on the light instead. Also, they use a camera instead of individual sensors.

    The software for following light using a camera is basically just tweaked visual motion detection, another off-the-shelf item.
    The way a camera "notices" motion is by variations of the luminance levels within the frame changing. You could hack or mimic that function which moves the camera to instead supply FC inputs to keep the "target" centered in the quad's camera as it flies towards the light.

    Position identification could be a simple as the quad's telemetry link giving you the GPS coordinates once at the target.

    IF you really wanted to complicate it though (to do as you originally thought) you'd also have to use a compass in the system for heading data too. Basically, knowing the point of origin (the binoculars with laser) in GPS coordinates, with the heading and distance
    from that point being known, you COULD calculate the GPS coordinates for the drone and just have it fly to the target that way.

    OR the life guard could just fly an ordinary drone close to there LOS then exactly to there FPV and drop the flotation device (without needing any other complicated stuff ) using any unused radio channel ;)
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2017
  14. ArmyVet

    ArmyVet Well-Known Member

    This system exists already.

    D.O.G.S. Dedicated Outgoing Guidance Sytem.........

    GJH105775 and Gyro Doctor like this.
  15. GJH105775

    GJH105775 Avid Linux User, and USAF 1C6 Moderator

    Seeing your profile picture looking at me so expectantly/knowingly made the video better hahaha.
    ArmyVet likes this.
  16. ArmyVet

    ArmyVet Well-Known Member

    Glad you enjoyed.

    That is a one of a kind picture of her. She does not normally look anything like that.

    Have fun!
    happy 2.jpg

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