This weekend Steve Wright, a lecturer at the University of the West of England (UWE), organised the first MAAXX drone racing event. It was hosted at the UWE Exhibition Centre in Bristol and open to visitors and competitors.
The concept was for teams to design, build and operate autonomous line following drones to compete against each other. The course was a netted area with an oval defined on the ground using red tape.
Two of the entrants were using Raspberry Pi powered drones. One was a hex-copter (see 0:57 in the video below) created by Mike Isted and has a Pi 3 mounted on the top in a red case.
The other was created by a University of Bristol team supported by an Engineer from Airbus. It is a quad-copter (see 0:26 in the video below) with the Pi hidden underneath.
Here is a slideshow made up of some of my photos :
The line following proved to be more challenging than the competitors expected largely due to lighting conditions. This gave the area around the arena a “pit-lane” feel to it with drone teams making adjustments to overcome various technical issues.
The event was well attended with aeronautical students and lecturers who were all happy to answer questions or discuss the future of this technology.
Dr Wright provided a video explaining how you might get started creating a line following drone with components costing less than £200. This approach doesn’t use a Raspberry Pi but is still worth a watch for inspiration.
I’m really looking forward to the next event. If you are interested in future events then sign up to the MAAXX newsletter on the official MAAXX site.