Pushing the maker envelope all the way to the Master level, [Przemyslaw Brudny], [Marek Ulita], and [Maciej Olejnik] from the Politechnika Wroclawska in Poland packed a UAV full of custom sensor boards for their thesis project.
The Skywalker X-8 FPV drone underwent extensive modifications to accommodate the embedded systems as well as upgrading the chassis with carbon glass to withstand the high load and speeds they would need to perform their tests. The ailerons were customized for finer control of the drone. But for our money, it’s all the board design that supports those sensors which is really fun to delve into.
A bevvy of systems are supported by two NXP Kinetis K66 boards that form the backbone of the drone — one acting as the controller for the flight systems, and the other as sensor and power control board. The sensor board boasts of three NXP MPL3115 barometric pressure sensors, a NXP FXOS8700CQ 3D accelerometer, NXP FXAS21002C gyroscope, plus WiFi and GSM cards.
In another feat of engineering prowess, a purpose-built programming and debug board grants access to the Kinetis K66 boards via a specialized cable.
The final product is an almost entirely tailor-made UAV demonstrating the skill of these three graduate students which proves that, yes indeed you can major in drone. With diverse applications, such as agriculture, the demand for ingenious solutions to the technical hurdles that UAVs and drones face means the skills the grads have accumulated will be in high demand in short order.