Introduction: Autonomous Fixed-Wing Delivery Drone (3D Printed)
Drone technology has evolved very much as is much more accessible to us than before. Today we can build a drone very easily and can be autonomous and can be controlled from any where of the world
Drone Technology can change our daily lives. Delivery drones can deliver packages very fast by the means of air.
This type of drone technology is already used by zipline(https://flyzipline.com/) which provides medical supplies to rural parts of Rwanda.
We can build similar kind of drone.
In this instructable we will learn how to build a Autonomous Fixed-Wing Delivery Drone
Note: This Project is in Work-In-Progress and will be heavily modified on later versions
My apologies for only 3D rendered photos since was unable to finish to build the drone due to supply shortages during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Before starting this project it is recommended to research on parts of Drone and Pixhawk
Pixhawk flight controller
3548 KV1100 Brushless Motor and its compatible esc
6S Li-Po battery
Raspberry pi 3
Step 1: Structure
The structure was designed in Autodesk Fusion 360. The structure is divided into 8 parts and is supported by 2 hallow aluminium shafts
Step 2: Control Surfaces
our drone has 4 types of control surfaces controlled by servo
Step 3: Pixhawk: the Brain
For this drone we are using Pixhawk 2.8 Flight Controller which is capable of autopilot.
For this project we will require the bundle containing these items-
- Pixhawk 2.4.8
- M8N GPS
- Safety Switch
- SD card
Step 4: Wiring the Pixhawk
Helpful link for first time set up>> https://ardupilot.org/plane/docs/arduplane-setup.h...
After finishing the first time setup connect the ESC of the motor to pixhawk and other servos for the control surfaces to pixhawk then configure them one by one in the Ardupilot software(https://ardupilot.org/plane/docs/plane-configurati...)
Step 5: Autonomous Control Over 4G and FlytOS
After finishing wiring our flight controller with the system we will start building the Autonomous Control system
This can be achieved by using Raspberry pi with a 4G dongle and a PiCam to receive the footage
The Raspberry pi communicates with the Pixhawk flight controller using a protocol known as MAVLink
For this project i am using Raspberry pi 3
Setting up raspberry Pi 3
- First download FlytOS image from their Site by Registering yourself and going to downloads tab-
- then create a bootable media using Balena etcher and the plug it in to raspberry pi.
- After booting flytOS contect to your LAN cable and then go to this link in your PC browser
in the "ip address of device" type your rasp pi ip adress
- Then activate your licence(personal,trial or commercial)
- then activate rasp pi
Now Configuring in your PC
- Install QGC(QGroundControl) on your local machine.
- Connect Pixhawk to QGC using the USB port at the side of Pixhawk.
- Install the latest stable PX4 release in Pixhawk using QGC by following this guide.
- Once done, visit parameter widget in QGC and search for parameter SYS_COMPANION and set it to 921600. This would enable communication between FlytOS running on Raspberry Pi 3 and Pixhawk.
Follow the official guidelines to setup by flytbase- https://docs.flytbase.com/flytos/getting-started/s...
Step 6: Delivery Drop Mechanism
The Delivery bay door is controlled by two servo motors. They are configured in the autopilot software as servo
and they open and close when the aircraft reaches the delivery waypoint
When the aircraft reaches delivery waypoint it opens its cargo bay and drops the delivery package which land gently to the delivery point with the help of a paper parachute attached to it.
After delivering the package the drone will return to its base
Step 7: Finishing
This projects will evolve over time and will be more capable deliver drone.
A shoutout to ardupilot community and flytbase community for developing these technologies
Participated in the
3D Printed Contest