Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2022

Thesis Advisor(s)

Ashwin Dani; Krishna Pattipati

Honors Major

Electrical Engineering


The objective of this project is to design and implement an autonomous search-and-rescue drone system capable of operating on targets positioned within a 30 ft. radius. Targets are located through heat signature, after which the drone performs a controlled approach to retrieve the rescuee and return to the launch point. The Pixhawk 4 autopilot is utilized to run autonomous missions, an IR camera to identify the target through OpenCV, and a winch system to pull the victim to safety. The flight director is designed in MATLAB/Simulink to help guide the drone to the precise location of the target. Simulations of the drone are run using jMAVSim to test software-in-the-loop implementations. At the project’s conclusion, several requirements have been fulfilled, while others remain incomplete due to unforeseen obstacles. Although the drone hardware has been assembled and image detection and UAV communication capabilities on the offboard computer are fully functional, the Simulink flight director component of the rescue loop was not completed and test flights of the drone were unsuccessful. The team faced some challenges, such as global chip shortage, limited budget, time constraints, and weight capacity.