The use of drones has increased over the time due to leading technological advancements in miniaturization of electronics, composite materials, machine learning and vision algorithms and battery technology.
They are everywhere: Drones are now used in agricultural automation, surveillance, photography, logistics, organ delivery, operation and rescue missions and wide variety of researches.
Quadcopters and multirotor: Most of the drones are multi-rotors like quadcopters, hexacopters etc. fixed wing drones are very less and are used mostly for military surveillance due their long endurance. Conventional quadcopters are highly inefficient by design and needs a lot of power to hover and travel because it will be pushing air against gravity. In-order to fly against gravity it should push commensurate amount of air.
Quadcopters are special: But what makes quadcopters stand out is their agility to move and manoeuvre in tight spaces and capability of hovering at a point. This is quite difficult for normal fixed wing drone. Staying at a point in free space helps you to record wonderfully stable videos and take stunning photographs of building in aerial view and many more things.
But they are dangerous: In order to hover or fly against gravity brushless motors with very high RPM(revolutions per minute) are used in drones. These brushless motors are fitted with propellers which are razor sharp so that they can cut through the air experiencing very less air friction. This makes the whole system very dangerous as there are 4 very sharp blades spinning at 11000RPM with a Li-Po (Lithium polymer) battery which can overheat and explode in midway so these kind of system needs a continuous care or health monitoring in-order to work properly. Manual inspection of propellers are not enough as any break in the propeller can lead to fatal injury to drone pilot and people nearby.
So predictive maintenance of drones is an essential thing in this technology driven world.
Another main thing is that this module can be directly used for the predictive maintenance of industrial machines also. Just the training data for vibration AI is different.
So Let's see how to build this.
Get the required things. Here we are using a Raspberry Pi, A drone with a flight controller and most important thing is our avnet brainium module.
Let's connect the brainium module to the Raspberry Pi via Bluetooth.
sudo bluetoothctl scan on pair [MAC address]
Upon successful pairing connect the device by entering the following command.
connect [MAC Address]
This makes connection to the Raspberry Pi and hence we can use Raspberry Pi as Gateway device. Its better as we can easily mount a standard Pi or even Pi Zero in drones or industries instead of a smart phone. Through the gateway it can send the data to cloud to generate AI models.
Here I have chosen Raspberry Pi because we can make the gate way as mobile and it can fly with the drone.
Step 1: Connect the AI
I have connected my Raspberry Pi with the SmartEdge Agile device.
Step 2 : Train the model
Create a workspace in the website. There are many tutorials on this in hackster.io website itself. You can find this easily.
I have trained the model for following situations:
1. Broken propeller
2. Broke connection
3. Damaged propeller, i.e dangerous to fly
4. Stationary drone
5. Drone running without propeller
6. Drone running with propeller
Step 3: Testing the trained model
This is basically testing and fine tuning the generated model. This helps to improve accuracy of the system
Step 4: Notify using alerts
The results in the changes detected is set as alerts so that we can give a notification through a buzzer. For this we need MQTT protocol for realtime detection of alerts. I'm using Paho MQTT Library. and here is the code for the same.
I have attached a buzzer to raspberry pi for the notification.
The predictive maintenance AI of this drone is so good that it was able to detect the modified propeller also.
Instead of giving a buzzer indication, we can directly disarm the drone by sending required PWM signal to flight controller board.
Drone health monitor for future cargo drones
Drone diagnostics tool for quickly detecting the fault