AI News, Blimps Seem Like the Friendliest Kind of Indoor Flying Robots

Blimps Seem Like the Friendliest Kind of Indoor Flying Robots

Every time we go to a conference, we see flying robots that are getting smaller and more talented, capable of dynamically avoiding all sorts of obstacles, indoors and out.

Instead of using stereo vision or a 3D sensor to track people, the blimp’s camera beams the video to a ground PC, which runs the face-tracking algorithms and uses a Xbee module to transmit control signals back to the blimp.The tricky bit is then calculating the blimp-to-face distance to enable a courteous following behavior.

Without any kind of depth information, the blimp uses prior knowledge of human face lengths to estimate distance from a monocular image, which only works because the blimp’s camera (unlike the camera on a quadrotor) is always face-parallel, and never pitching or rolling.

Once the blimp locks on to a person it wants to follow, it uses its five little propellers to help it translate in all three dimensions as well as yaw, and it works fairly well—at least as long as the“human is not moving too fast,” the researchers say.

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