Yifeng Zhu
Teaching Embedded Systems with Drones
Developed at the University of Maine in collorbation with STMicroelectronics
Yifeng ZHU, University of Maine
Giorgio MARIANO and Marco DE FAZIO, STMicroelectronics
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Embedded system lays an foundation for computer sciences and engineering curricula.

This lab-based curriculum leverages the cheap ST drone kit to cover important topics of embedded systems. A total of 8 lab modules are designed, as listed below. Student can download the project template from this link. This project template uses TrueStudio, a free C/C++ IDE for STM32 developpers. Here is a simple tutorial of how to use TrueStudio.

  1. Generating PWM Signal
    • Understand the clock tree of STM32F4 micro-controllers
  2. UART Communication
  3. Analog to Digital Converter (ADC)
    • Set up and read ADC to read in the battery voltage
    • Use software trigger to make ADC conversions, and polling method to read ADC results
    • Send measurements to PC via UART
    • Powerpoint slide (pptx)
    • Lab handout (docx)
  4. SPI Communication
  5. Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS)
    • Understanding how the position and orientation of an object can be mathematically represented and calculated using accelerometer and gyroscope data
  6. PID (Proportional, Integral, and Derivative) Control
  7. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
  8. Simple Flying Test
    • Write a code to change the thrust parameter based on time elapsed.
    • Have the drone rise and fall slowly in the air without any user input.  
    • Lab handout (docx)