Arduino Forum

Using Arduino => Project Guidance => Topic started by: Jgunde on Jan 12, 2019, 08:30 am

Title: Long Range (~200ft) Aerial Tracking System
Post by: Jgunde on Jan 12, 2019, 08:30 am
Hello everyone. I would like your advice on this project:

I am trying to make one RC plane follow another RC plane autonomously. I having everything figured out except one problem: How do I have one plane track another outdoors with a range of about 50-200ft? (*GPS is not an option - I want a line of sight based tracking method)

Possible Ideas:

- use bright IR led on leading plane and IR receivers on the tracking plane: the problem I see with this is the IR led not being bright enough to be detected by the IR receivers in daylight

- use ultrasonic emiter on the leading plane and multiple receivers on the tracking plane: again, I don't think the ultrasonic pulses would be able to travel up to 200ft

- use RF transmitter on the leading plane and multiple RF receivers on the trailing plane; the receivers would compare the time delay between when each receives a RF signal to determine the direction of the leading plane: This seems like the most plausible solution but I would imagine hardware that can differentiate time differences in the sub-nanosecond range would be expensive (though LIDAR units are becoming cheaper) and I have no idea how to do something like this.


If anyone has any better ideas or suggestions on how to make this work, all advice would be approciated.
Title: Re: Long Range (~200ft) Aerial Tracking System
Post by: couka on Jan 12, 2019, 09:55 am
I think IR is the easiest to do, you just need a powerful enough transmitter.

This might be interesting (Using the IR camera from a Wii controller) (https://www.robotshop.com/community/forum/t/wii-ir-camera-as-standalone-sensor/12901)

For the RF method, look into "Amateur Radio Direction Finding"
Title: Re: Long Range (~200ft) Aerial Tracking System
Post by: Robin2 on Jan 12, 2019, 11:59 am
If the planes are 200ft apart the circumference of the circle in which the following plane must find the other is about 1200 ft. If the planes are about 6ft wingspan that represents half of 1% of the circumference. Imagine the tiny percentage when you take 3 dimensions into account, especially as the airplane is not 6ft tall as well as 6ft wide. Acquiring the target in the first instance will be a mammoth task.

Short of using proper radar (and even that might be impractical with such a small target) the only thing that seems to me likely to have a realistic chance of working is a visual system with image recognition software and, perhaps, a flashing visible light on target plane. The flashing is to make it identifiable and to distinguish it from the sun as much as possible. Flying on an overcast day might be wise so that the sun cannot interfere.

You would need a lot more computing power than an Arduino for a visual system.

...R
Title: Re: Long Range (~200ft) Aerial Tracking System
Post by: PaulRB on Jan 12, 2019, 12:03 pm
Quote
GPS is not an option - I want a line of sight based tracking method
Why? GPS is an obvious candidate solution, and you don't have many other practical ones yet...
Title: Re: Long Range (~200ft) Aerial Tracking System
Post by: srnet on Jan 12, 2019, 12:09 pm
Is the objective of the 'project' just to come up with an alternative to a GPS solution, or is there some other compelling reason why you cannot use GPS ?
Title: Re: Long Range (~200ft) Aerial Tracking System
Post by: Jgunde on Jan 12, 2019, 04:52 pm
Is the objective of the 'project' just to come up with an alternative to a GPS solution, or is there some other compelling reason why you cannot use GPS ?
Why? GPS is an obvious candidate solution, and you don't have many other practical ones yet...
I wanted to replicate the style of tracking they use in the AIM-9 Sidewinder missile. It tracks the IR radiation coming from the enemy jets engine.

So I want a system that can visualy lock on to a target and then follow it.
Title: Re: Long Range (~200ft) Aerial Tracking System
Post by: Robin2 on Jan 12, 2019, 05:27 pm
I wanted to replicate the style of tracking they use in the AIM-9 Sidewinder missile. It tracks the IR radiation coming from the enemy jets engine.
There's your solution. Put a 30,000 lb thrust jet on the target plane.

Or, put another way, some things don't scale down.

...R
Title: Re: Long Range (~200ft) Aerial Tracking System
Post by: MorganS on Jan 12, 2019, 06:55 pm
This will scale nicely. The sidewinder can track because the hundreds-of-degrees IR radiation does not exist in nature. At those wavelengths the rest of the world is black (with the exception of the sun).

IR remote controls use a similar idea: they transmit in a range that is mostly black in the world.  The other thing that is different is the IR diode is modulated at 38KHz. The world is completely black to the 38KHz filter.  Your TV can see the remote in direct sunshine.

Initial acquisition might be difficult but once you are locked on it should not be difficult to track.
Title: Re: Long Range (~200ft) Aerial Tracking System
Post by: jremington on Jan 12, 2019, 07:18 pm
Quote
IR remote controls use a similar idea: they transmit in a range that is mostly black in the world.
During the day, the world is saturated with NIR radiation. It is the 38kHz modulation that makes an IR remote stand out.
Title: Re: Long Range (~200ft) Aerial Tracking System
Post by: Robin2 on Jan 12, 2019, 08:42 pm
This will scale nicely.
From a distance of 200 ft? I reckon it's like a needle in a haystack.

...R
Title: Re: Long Range (~200ft) Aerial Tracking System
Post by: Paul_KD7HB on Jan 12, 2019, 09:25 pm
I wanted to replicate the style of tracking they use in the AIM-9 Sidewinder missile. It tracks the IR radiation coming from the enemy jets engine.

So I want a system that can visualy lock on to a target and then follow it.
Just a minor point: long before the missile is launched, it is given the image with the point to track. So, it only has to keep the hot spot centered in the image.

Paul
Title: Re: Long Range (~200ft) Aerial Tracking System
Post by: PaulRB on Jan 12, 2019, 10:06 pm
it only has to keep the hot spot centered in the image.
Actually, they don't. Ground/air-to-air missiles don't aim directly that the target. They attempt to maintain the same angle to the target. This means they are in effect aiming at a point in front of the target, where the missile will meet the target (and of course missiles almost never actually hit their target, they just explode close enough that the chains in the warhead can damage the target).
Title: Re: Long Range (~200ft) Aerial Tracking System
Post by: Robin2 on Jan 12, 2019, 11:31 pm
they just explode close enough that the chains in the warhead can damage the target).
And a lot of them miss completely.

...R
Title: Re: Long Range (~200ft) Aerial Tracking System
Post by: MorganS on Jan 13, 2019, 12:50 am
Just a minor point: long before the missile is launched, it is given the image with the point to track. So, it only has to keep the hot spot centered in the image.

Paul
That applies to missiles launched from internal bays like on the F22. For older planes with the missiles on the wings the missile does all the work. The pilot was supposed to listen for the "growl" generated by the missile seeker and launch when it changed to a continuous tone, indicating a lock.

For certain kinds of missile the pilot would always keep one back because if he fired it he lost that type of sensor which the aircraft did not have on its own.

There is a surprising amount of data sent to the aircraft from the missile before launch.
Title: Re: Long Range (~200ft) Aerial Tracking System
Post by: Robin2 on Jan 13, 2019, 08:52 am
I suspect that heat-seeking missiles had ultra-cold detectors as well as everything else - not just a regular TSOP4838 that is designed to be as omni-directional as possible  :)

...R
Title: Re: Long Range (~200ft) Aerial Tracking System
Post by: Jgunde on Jan 14, 2019, 10:30 pm
I've been looking for ways to focus a super bright IR led in order to allow sensors like the TSOP4838 to pick it up from 100+ feet away. I used a Light Strike laser tag gun and the TSOP can sense the gun firing from at least 100ft in daylight (my backyard is only so long).
Title: Re: Long Range (~200ft) Aerial Tracking System
Post by: Robin2 on Jan 14, 2019, 11:13 pm
I used a Light Strike laser tag gun and the TSOP can sense the gun firing from at least 100ft in daylight (my backyard is only so long).
That seems to me to be the wrong way round - it implies that the target plane would be aiming the light at the chase plane. And that would not help the chase plane to follow the target plane.

If the chase plane is to detect the target plane then the transmission from the  target plane must be as omni-directional as possible - I guess at a minimum it would have to cover 120° in all axes - think of a cone with an included angle of 120°. And 180° would be even better as far as finding the target is concerned.

...R