Design Objectives

This project is defined and guided by Texas Instruments’ requests. They require us to create a drone that can deliver at least one pizza within a two-mile radius of the start location. This includes full autonomous capability that can perform a direct flight to a remote GPS location, drop off the pizza without damage, and fly back to the origin on one charge without pilot control. During delivery, the drone must stay at least 15 feet off the ground and deliver the pizza to a recognized marker. It cannot land at the target due to potential danger to the client and potentially undefined target terrain.

In the event of drone misbehavior, pilot manual override will need to be available. Pilot supervision is required at all times during the flight to take over in the case of misbehavior. The drone must have some form of graceful descent built in to mitigate damage or accident in the event of sudden hardware failure.

The drone’s central processing unit must be based on the TI MSP432 ultra low-power MCU. We have access to a MSP432-based Launchpad with the Sensors BoosterPack. Our job is to find out how to replicate the functionality of the PX4 open-source flight controller platform onto the Launchpad to demonstrate TI hardware’s viability as a flight controller platform.

We are currently constrained by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the flight aspects of this project. According to the FAA, without special pilot licensing, the drone must stay within the pilot’s line of sight and not exceed 55 lbs (including payload). Additionally, we can only fly in daylight hours or prior to civil twilight with sufficient lighting.

General design specifications for the entire drone:

The resulting pairwise comparison can be found here.

Following the first major crash, we knew we needed a more affordable/ easily repairable testing drone. Our access to a 3D printer and laser cutter will allow us to quickly repair pieces when they break for a relatively low price.