Isidro Arias from Cádiz, Spain, this morning shared his final thesis project with the PX4 community on Slack, “Centimeter-level Accuracy in a Quadrotor using Affordable Components.” and I had the opportunity to have a quick chat with him to get to know more about this project.

Isidro just finished his MSc in “Electronics, Automation, and Robotics” from the University of Sevilla and has been an active PX4 Autopilot user for more than two years.

“Ever since I tried the PX4 Autopilot, I fell in love with the project.”

Isidro Arias

For his thesis project, he initially planned to use Lidar or SLAM, but the components’ high cost put off Isidro. Working part-time and studying didn’t give him much room to obtain better parts at the time.

Based on that knowledge, he decided his project’s central concept would be to provide a cost-conscious way for other robotics students to obtain accurate positioning. 

One of his main challenges was understanding how the EKF worked in the PX4-Autopilot, which was a large focus of his masters’ thesis.

Isidro used off-the-shelf components to create the demo, armed with a CUAV v5+ and a Raspberry Pi 4. He was able to leverage MAVSDK to write a custom mission planner that can recognize CharUco markers and record their position in space, to later command the drone in offboard mode to go back to the pre-recorded tags as demonstrated in the video.

Isidro started this project in the Summer of 2020, worked on it on-and-off throughout the year, and is happy with the results. Lastly, Isidro hopes he can inspire others to achieve more in creative ways with essential components.

“I hope the PX4-Autopilot project keeps progressing. I’m a huge admirer of the work from the community”

Isidro Arias.