What do you get when you put a smartphone, camera, IMU, distance sensors on a drone? A hell of a smart drone that can save itself in dangerous situations. A research team at the University of Zurich have developed a system that can stabilize and potentially land UAS in situations where the operator or automated flight path has jeopardized the drone’s safety. Also the system can safely land the UAS on a flat surface in situations where the flight controller has lost connection to GPS and the transmitter. The team states that this process works by using the sensors stated above to constantly generate a 3D map of the local environment, which is stored on the onboard computer, so when one crucial system fails like GPS or the IMU and CPU predicts a crash, the drone can use the 3D map as a reference as to how to avoid disaster. The team demonstrates the technology by throwing a UAS in the air at an angle, and the UAS instantly recovers by using their system. This is incredibly useful for the future of UAS automation.
SOURCES: Robotics & Perception Group, Engadget