The Shocking Precision of Modern Drone Technology
Researchers are building small autonomous quadrotor drone helicopters proficient of precise aggressive maneuvers. The acrobatic mastery of the autonomous helis is nothing short of astounding and seems almost ripped directly from the pages of science fiction. The shocking part of these drones are that they are not remote-controlled helis; they are autonomous flying robots. The drones are rising.
Developed at the University of Pennsylvania General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception Lab (GRASP) these UAV’s are part of a project to investigate the ability of quadcopter helicopters and trajectory generation. This translates in layman terms to nothing other than magical flying thinking robots.
Watching these drones drifting through the air with majestic exactness is an impressive spectacle to witness. The buzzing roar of the controlled heli motors and the ramping of the auto correction gives one an instant GRASP (pun intended) on the level of technical precision that can be found in these flying robots.
Coupling to the aerial acrobatics is the ability for not only to fly but to adhere to surfaces and perch. The perching capability of the drones opens up a whole new dimension in flying technology. Now drones can have the capacity to travel to a location and land. Then at this point, they can enter a surveillance mode or simply a static holding pattern in which the heli could go into a power saving routine.
The extraordinary ability to perch could be more than just a cool method of waiting for commands, it could also be a method of restoring the battery cells by solar or, even for that matter, by harnessing the wind blowing the blades like mini turbines blades charging the cells. With new advancements in LiPo tech over the past few years, it has opened up the realm of RC Helicopters and the recharging solutions that could be deployed for the industry.
Of course, these quadcopter exercises are in a controlled environment under complex computational power. A real world example may be a little bit further down the road, but sooner than later they will have these systems integrated into the helicopter.
Over the past 3 years, quadcopters have been increasingly gaining popularity with RC helicopter enthusiasts and even with the general public. With the release of the extremely popular DJI Phantom Vision 2 and others including the advanced Blade 350 QX the hobby is without a doubt on a steady rise and understandably so.
Compared to learning to fly a traditional RC Helicopter, which takes years to master, the learning curve of the multirotor platforms is almost non existent. Additionally, the rock steady stability that you gain with the quadcopters allows users to attach still and video cameras to the platforms which some attribute to the popularity rise in the industry. Overwhelmingly, the GoPro HERO3 camera system is the preferred choice for most pilots due to it’s broadcast quality video, size and price-point.
The Future of Drones
Notwithstanding, the ability to perch, grasp and swarm will forever alter the future of society in almost every industry imaginable. From construction companies utilizing multirotor platforms to move and assemble structures, to pizza delivery services where pizza could be delivered by a flying robot grasping an insulated box. The obvious benefits to law enforcement and military application are numerous to talk about, but the unconventional services that these robots will provide will usher in a new paradigm. The shocking precision of modern drone technology will grow by leaps and bounds.
For more info visit General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Laboratory https://www.grasp.upenn.edu/