Drone work is teamwork

Published on: September 17, 2019

Electronics engineering student Youri gets a taste of software development

Even students with a heart for hardware want to look at things from a different angle from time to time. That’s why electronics engineering student Youri Vassiliev recently took on an internship at Kapernikov. During his assignment, Youri got the opportunity to play with drones, Linux, C++11, and Git version control.

“Although I am a hardware guy, it was fun to work in a software environment for a change,” says Youri. “I had the chance to work with exciting technologies, and even succeeded in making the life of my coworkers a bit easier.”

Drone demo

During his internship, Youri was asked to speed up the set-up time for Kapernikov’s current KIPP demo package. KIPP is the Kapernikov Industrial Positioning Platform that allows to detect and track people and machines down to the centimeter. The goal was to have a self-deployable demo that made use of a drone and that could easily be set up by a single operator.

To complete the assignment, Youri made use of the ROS2 framework for programming robots and a DJI Tello drone. Despite the incomplete documentation and the ROS2 framework still being in development, Youri was able to achieve the goals of his internship. He made use of existing Open Source nodes and built on that to make the drone more intelligent. This enabled the drone to lift off autonomously and to find its predefined position.

Making the KIPP demo work

Next on the list was making sure the drone could work together with the KIPP platform. To this end, Youri integrated an additional computer vision node for person detection, a zone server node that keeps track of all the different zones, and an image annotator node, which is able to draw overlays and detection bounding boxes.

“I am glad to have succeeded in making the drone go to its position and to perform person detection,” says Youri. “Along the way, I discovered a few things that were helpful for Kapernikov colleagues as well, such as activating two Wi-Fi networks with one network card.”

“I discovered that software development is a team business”

Flexible company

When you are working at Kapernikov, flexibility is key. And it’s no different for interns. “Flexible hours, occasional home office, or working on the train… it’s all possible at Kapernikov,” says Youri. “Kapernikov has a great atmosphere, where work and life are perfectly in balance.”

“I discovered that software development is a team business,” says Youri. “That’s why collaboration is key. I also found out that I have a knack for communication and teamwork. That’s definitely something I can put into practice as a future employee.”