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Fly a Parrot Minidrone and Detect Objects

This example shows how to create a Simulink® model that starts the flight of a Parrot® minidrone and detects a blue-colored object on the ground using the drone's downward-facing camera.


The Parrot minidrones are equipped with a downward-facing camera that provides images of the surface below it. These images can be processed to detect objects.

In this example, you will learn how to use the model to:

  • Obtain an image from the downward-facing camera while the drone is airborne

  • Perform analysis of the image to detect any blue colored objects

  • Hover the drone over the detected blue object


Required Hardware

To run this example, you must have the following hardware:

  • Parrot Rolling Spider Or Parrot Mambo minidrone with a fully charged battery and propellers connected to the motors

  • Micro USB type-B cable

  • Bluetooth Low energy (BLE) 4.0 support on the host computer


The support package includes an example project that starts the flight of the Parrot minidrone. This example project takes the drone off the ground and moves the drone to the right until it sees a blue color on the ground. When the drone sees blue color, it hovers over it.

You can launch the example project by running the following command at the MATLAB command prompt: parrotMinidroneCompetitionStart

Task 1: Simulate the Drone in 3D Simulator Window

1. Open the example project by executing this command at the MATLAB command prompt.


2. Once the Simulink project is open, click the Project Shortcuts tab and click the type of drone you are using. For example, if you are using Parrot Mambo, click Set Mambo Model.

3. To simulate the model, click the Run button on the Simulink model toolbar. The lower-left corner of the model window displays status while Simulink prepares to run the model on the host computer.

Observe that the drone in the Minidrone Flight Visualization 3D Simulator takes off and starts flying to the right direction until the camera on the drone detects a blue color object. On detecting a blue color object, the drone stops moving and hovers above the blue object.

Note: The command parrotMinidroneCompetitionStart starts a new project everytime you run the command. The modifications (if any) that you made in the previous project will not appear in the new project.

Task 2: Set Environment to Fly Drone

1. Place a blue colored object on the ground.

2. Place the drone to the left of the blue colored object in such a way that the object is on the y-axis of the drone.

3. Connect the Parrot Minidrone to your computer using Bluetooth as described in Setup and Configuration.

Task 3: Deploy the Model on Parrot Minidrone

1. In the model, right-click the Flight Control System and select Open As Top Model. The flightControlSystem model opens in a separate window.

2. In the model toolbar, click the Deploy to Hardware button. The lower-left corner of the model window displays status while Simulink prepares, downloads, and runs the model on the hardware.

After successfully deploying the model, the Parrot minidrone takes off from the ground and starts moving to the right direction until the drone detects the blue colored object. On detecting the object, the drone stops moving and starts hovering over the object.

Task 4: Modify the Track in 3D Simulator Window using Competition Track Builder

You can use the Competition Track Builder app to create new tracks and to modify existing tracks. This app also allows you to test line-following algorithms and other similar algorithms in the Simulink 3D environment. For more information on using Competition Track Builder app, see Competition Track Builder.

1. In the Simulink project, click the Project Shortcuts tab and then click Open Track Builder.

2. In the Competition Track Builder app, make the changes as required. For example, create a custom track by clicking on the white area and update the changes to 3D Simulator window. A sample GIF image is shown below.

See Also

Competition Track Builder