Development of a multi-agent quadrotor research platform with distributed computational capabilities

Mcinerney, Ian
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Research on multi-agent systems of UAVs is of growing interest in the research community, with specific interest in the testing of novel algorithms on actual systems. Many existing testbeds already exist, but the majority of them utilize expensive quadrotors for their agents. With the recent surge in interest from consumers, companies have started to market lower cost quadrotor options. One such option is the Crazyflie 2.0 from Bitcraze. This quadrotor measures just 10cm from rotor to rotor, uses open-source firmware, and has developed a strong community backing. This work develops a multi-agent testbed using the Crazyflie 2.0.

This work presents a parameterization of the Crazyflie quadrotor so it can be modeled and have more advanced controllers designed for it. Additionally, this work discusses the default control loop of the Crazyflie 2.0. Then nested-loop PID controllers are designed and compared against the simulated physics model.

A software system that is capable of controlling multiple flying Crazyflie's is also presented. This system is also capable of modifying the controller at runtime, and implementing distributed computation on the Crazyflie.

Finally, a novel algorithm for localization of a target object using distance-only measurements is presented. This algorithm uses optimization dynamics to solve a non-convex QCQP formulation of the problem in a distributed manner. The algorithm is presented and then implemented using the distributed computation framework presented in this work.

Crazyflie Quadrotor, Distributed Computation, Distributed Localization, Distributed Trilateration, Multi-agent Testbed