AAVOID: Autonomous Assembly aVOIdance Drone

AAVOID, the first drone to have a dual microcontroller to manage both flight and autopilot in parallel, was presented by Engineering at Maker Faire 2015 in Rome.

The AAVOID drone, which was designed and developed entirely by Engineering, has a laser-cut wood structure with 3D-printed feet and a satshakit, microcontroller board which controls the engines of AAVOID via a double microcontroller which operates - in parallel - two low level aspects that require immediate responses: on one hand flight and on the other the autopilot.

The drone is constantly connected to the Internet and has access to a server for sending/receiving data. Moreover, it can be seen as a complete robot, equipped with a reflective autopilot able to respond immediately to detection of an obstacle, but with the PRACTIONIST (PRACTIcal reasONIng sySTem) framework on board, which is able to provide capacity of autonomy and automated reasoning. This is made possible because satshakit can communicate directly with a smartphone.

The satshakit microcontroller is able to function exactly like an Arduino, being 100% compatible with its libraries and its IDE, with some differences that are to be found in its easy reproducibility without the need of industrial machinery, its high potential for customisation and the educational potential of building it.

The objectives achieved by AAVOID can be summarised as follows:

  • self-built to the extent possible using digital manufacturing techniques
  • easily reproducible with low-cost machinery
  • fly perfectly
  • carry a smartphone in flight
  • send data collected in real time via the Internet
  • avoid simple obstacles like walls or persons
  • act an open source platform for development of an intelligent drone.

AAVOID and the satshakit board were developed ​​by Daniele Ingrassia during Engineering's participation at Fab Academy 2015, an international course of rapid prototyping, conceived and conducted by the Center for Bit and Atoms of the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT).