AI News, The Secret to Small Drone Obstacle Avoidance Is to Just Crash Into Stuff

The Secret to Small Drone Obstacle Avoidance Is to Just Crash Into Stuff

Roboticists are putting a tremendous amount of time and effort into finding the right combination of sensors and algorithms that will keep their drones from smashing into things.

At the University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP Lab, where they’ve been working very, very hard at getting quadrotors to fly through windows without running into them, Yash Mulgaonkar, Luis Guerrero-Bonilla, Anurag Makineni, and Professor Vijay Kumar have come up with what seems to be a much simpler solution for navigation and obstacle avoidance with swarms of small aerial robots: Give them a roll cage, and just let them run into whatever is in their way.

(Swiss startup Flyabilitywas among the first to demonstrate the benefits of collision robustness by equipping aregular-size dronewith a gimballed protective cageand flying through forests and ice caves.) In designing its flying vehicles,the UPenn group sought a bio-inspired approach, focusing onsmall and resilient quadrotors.

“We are trying to make robots that are safe and smart and that can operate in cluttered indoor environments.” In terms of applications where this kind of capability would be most useful, Kumar mentions as one example exploring an indoor environmentduring an emergency-response situation: Imagine a search-and-rescue or disaster response scenario when you want a swarm of robots to enter a contaminated or dangerous building to create maps.

Videos

video presents an autonomous 250 g quadrotor performing aggressive maneuvers using a qualcomm snapdragon flight and relying only on on-board computation and sensor capabilities.

Highlights from DARPA’s Fast Light Autonomy competition data collection tests.

In this paper we present the flying monkey, a novel robot platform having three main capabilities: walking, grasping, and flight.

This new robotic platform merges one of the world’s smallest quadrotor aircraft with a lightweight, single-degree-of-freedom walking mechanism and an SMA-actuated gripper to enable all three functions in a 30g package.

The main goal and key contribution of this paper is to design and prototype the flying monkey that has increased mission life and capabilities through the combination of the functionalities of legged and aerial robots. Yash Mulgaonkar, Brandon Araki, Je-sung Koh, Luis Guerrero-Bonilla, Daniel M.

This video showcases a research collaboration between our group at the University of Pennsylvania and Qualcomm Research in creating autonomous flying robots powered by smartphones.

Quadrotor flying along the horizontal region of the penstock without external illumination.

Quadrotor flying along the inclined region of the penstock approximately 50 meters into the inclination.

Quadrotor flying along the inclined region of the penstock approximately 15 meters into the inclination.

Our research lets ground and aerial robots explore environments in order to build high quality 3D maps.

State estimation and autonomous navigation in complex indoor/outdoor environments Shaojie

A 740g quadrotor flies fully autonomously with speed up to 4m/s using only onboard sensing and computation.

A troupe of 16 quadrotors (flying robots) dance to and manipulate sound and light at the Saatchi

Quadrotors create and execute a plan for building a 3-D structure.They also navigate new areas with a lasar and camera and actually learn about the environment as they fly through it.

Teams of quadrotors autonomously build tower-like cubic structures from modular parts.

Vision-based autonomous navigation and mapping using a 740 gram quadrotor equipped with two fisheye cameras and an IMU.

Autonomous robotic “fetch”

A 740g quadrotor flies fully autonomously with speed up to 4m/s using only onboard sensing and computation.

We present a methodology for estimating the state of a micro-aerial vehicle (MAV) as it transitions between different operating environments with varying applicable sensors.

We present a methodology that enables a quadrotor aerial robot to autonomously explore single- or multi- floor indoor environments without any human interaction.The quadrotor is purchased from ascending technologies.

This video presents experimental results of autonomous navigation in confined indoor environments using an aerial robot.

This video shows our results on autonomous multi-floor indoor navigation with a quadrotor.

Specifically, we address multi-floor mapping with loop closure, localization, planning, and autonomous control, including adaptation to aerodynamic effects during traversal through spaces with low vertical clearance or strong external disturbances.

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