School Project Autonomous Payload Delivery

Hi, I’m new to the website and just getting familiar with drones in general. I have a school project where I have to deliver three golf balls to within several feet of three GPS waypoints on a football field with a drone. I am a total novice and stumbled upon the MissionPlanner software videos on youTube and thought that seemed like a great way to execute the mission. If anyone could give me some general suggestions for: compatible drones, if ardupilot would be a good fit, and maybe some useful links for me to find as I continue my investigation.
The drone has to completely autonomously complete the mission and return with no user inputs.
I have some basic AVR programming skills and I’m studying electrical engineering. Thank you so much in advance I look forward to learning about ArduPilot and meeting the community members on the forum.

-Alex T

Hi Alex!

You might like to check out one of the new features due out in Copter 3.5: CMD_NAV_PLACE.

Here’s a video of it in action:

That’s a fully autonomous mission.

Now that feature is currently purely based on throttle-output required to maintain hover (or descent rate). If your vehicle is as heavy as mine, then putting a golf ball on the ground may not make a sufficient difference to the thrust requirements to be above the “noise threshold” that must be present for gusts of wind and the like.

You can try it and see how it goes - but some other mechanism for determining that the “package” has been placed is not unreasonable - a switch (“button” in ardupilot parlance), perhaps.

Also, currently we only compile in support for a single gripper,. That is relatively easily changed. It may also be possible to develop a ball release mechanism which drops one ball when the servo signal indicated a “release” should occur.

Thanks Peter, that video was really cool. I’m surprised how well it flew with that weight on a string. I’ll be looking into copter 3.5 for sure.