Delivery Drones Can Learn to See, Dodge Obstacles In-Flight

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Aerial drones are learning to avoid in-flight collisions.

Researchers have developed a method to enable aerial drones to learn to avoid in-flight collisions.

Credit: ETH Zurich

The University of Zurich in Switzerland and Intel have jointly developed a method to enable aerial drones to learn to avoid in-flight collisions.

Zurich’s Elia Kaufmann and colleagues sought to develop drones that could self-pilot through hoops or gates, and set up a track with such gates arranged in a circuit, altering the obstacles’ positions after each lap. Camera recordings of gate images gathered over several hours enabled a neural network to learn how to pass through them on appropriate trajectories, via generalization.

Kaufmann says real-world testing showed the drone could pilot itself at up to about 3.5 meters a second.

University College London’s Mirko Kovac envisions such drones performing “urgent delivery—such as in environments that have a lot of obstacles like forests, disaster zones, or inside collapsed buildings.”

From New Scientist
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Abstracts Copyright © 2018 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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