AI News, VOXL from ModalAI helps Uber Eats test BVLOS drone delivery of food

VOXL from ModalAI helps Uber Eats test BVLOS drone delivery of food

American dining habits are changing, as busy schedules and varying tastes increase demand for ordered food.

High-density urban areas pose a challenge for drone delivery, so Uber Eats used ModalAI’s VOXL platform in its tests here this summer.

In addition to drone deliveries, developers are working on mobile robots and remotely controlled and autonomous vehicles.

The company said this allows for an integrated, machine vision-based, autonomous navigation system for drones and robots, both indoors and outdoors.

“This package includes computer vision and processing capable of running SLAM [simultaneous localization and mapping], a flight controller, and connectivity for other peripherals,”

“VOXL supports four cameras over MIPI [a widely used interface], and we’ve built a USB hub into the platform,”

The system provided command and control of the drone and assisted with autonomous navigation and air traffic monitoring via an Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) receiver.

VOXL also provided a digital map so that the remote pilot could see where the drone was at all times, even when it was beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).

While ModalAI is not currently working on systems to take advantage of promised 5G networks, “we’re absolutely watching it,”

“Just as with the drone industry’s pivot from consumer to commercial, the priority shifts from trying to build something for $300 to making sure it brings value to the enterprise.”

“There are a lot of products on the market that are similar, such as the NVIDIA Jetson, but folks have neglected these platforms after the consumer market stagnated,”

“Jetson weighs 150g [5.2 oz.], while our product weighs 20g [0.7 oz.] with cameras and communications built in.