ANT-X provides a complete indoor laboratory facility for research and education in multi-agent systems, flight robotics, flight control and aerospace control in order to satisfy the need for a ready to use and customizable platform for research and education.
The ANT-X complete laboratory solution is made up of four components:
The drones are the core of our product: small, lightweight, agile and robust quadcopters developed to support educational and research activities. Our ready-to-fly platforms allow the user to seamlessly implement and test innovative flight control concepts using open-source software and hardware. The reduced dimensions of the drones make them suitable even for small flight arenas, and for multi-agent or formation flight scenarios.
Motion Capture System
The system needed to track drones in flight, support the operation of navigation and control systems and evaluate the drone’s performance. We employ state-of the-art solutions developed by the world leader motion capture system producer OptiTrack https://optitrack.com, to guarantee the best motion tracking performance.
We provide a proprietary system to customize the navigation and control modules of the PX4 firmware. This system allows to develop flight control laws at high level in the MATLAB/Simulink environment, and to seamlessly deploy them in the onboard firmware, thus enabling a very short development time from model-based design environments to the actual on-board code. No specific firmware knowledge nor coding skills are required. Press a button, and you are ready to fly your custom controller!
As a university spin-off, we can leverage our experience in both education and research to offer pre-designed modules for on-board guidance, navigation and control, as well as worked implementations in MATLAB/Simulink. We provide ready-made solutions to the modelling, identification, simulation, control design problems which can be either used for education or further developed for research purposes.
A ready-to-fly laboratory
We offer a cost-effective turnkey laboratory solution to carry out flight control experimental activities. Our solution allows a fast transition from theory to practice of flight control research and education, by validating simulation results with experiments and consequently improving the quality of research. Further, it avoids the burden of developing a flight control laboratory entirely from scratch.
A flexible and scalable solution
We can support you to design the best laboratory set-up for your needs, in terms of space, number of drones, etc. Whether you aim for an office-sized setup or a wide indoor space, we can suggest you the best configuration in terms of number of motion capture cameras, number of drones, and so on.
The best drone educational experience
Attract and motivate students by offering them stimulating experimental activities with drones. Transfer advanced knowledge and skills to your students in an effective way and give them the opportunity to transition from theory to practice by working on real drones. We offer a wide body of educational material and ready-made solutions to modelling, identification, simulation, control design problems, to support the preparation of lectures involving laboratory sessions. Our educational material is compliant with the current state-of-the-art in automatic flight control.
Care-free flight testing
Our drones have been designed on the basis of years of experience in flight control research and education and are compact and crash-proof, which makes them suitable for indoor flight even in confined spaces. Moreover, the design with protected propellers makes the operation extremely safe. Whether you are at your first experience with a drone or a skilled pilot, you can enjoy a safe flight.
Implementation made easy
Our tool for automatic generation of flight control modules allows you to design control laws at high level in the MATLAB/Simulink environment, and takes care automatically of deployment on the onboard hardware. Avoid spending time and putting considerable effort in the coding phase and focus on what really matters: rapidly exploring and testing new ideas, and generating innovation.
Open software and hardware
We provide an open architecture, suitable for research and education activities. On-board software is based on the open source PX4 flight stack https://px4.io/, a widely used and adopted drone control software both in industry and academia. The flight control unit is based on the Pixhawk autopilot hardware standard https://pixhawk.org/.
The drone sector is becoming a reality worldwide. The co-evolution of technology and regulations all over the world has now reached a significant level of maturity. The commercial and professional operation of drones can add value to a wide range of industry sectors thanks to the improving level of automation and, in perspective, of autonomy, in their operation. Because of this, research and education in the fields of drone perception, guidance, navigation and control have never been as important and timely as they are today. ANT-X, through its turnkey laboratory solution based on state-of-the-art technology components, bridges the gap between the needs of the nascent drone industry and higher education institutions all over the world.