The use of robots to find victims after natural disasters is fast becoming commonplace, with well documented cases where robots have been sent into areas too dangerous for rescue workers. While the issues surrounding robustness, control and autonomy are frequently cited as key areas for research, a team from LIS, EPFL and NCCR Robotics is working on another important aspect, how to make flying robots easily transportable and quick to deploy.
VertiKUL can carry up to 1kg (~2 lbs) to a distance of 30 km (~18,5 miles) with a single battery charge. It takes off vertically with the help of four propellers, and then, in midair it rotates its nose 90° forward, making the transition from take-off to flying mode.
Although I am amazed with UAVs and their versatility, I must admit that having a flying camera zoom by – and zoom in on me – can be intimidating. Not because the drone has a camera, but because I don’t always know who is behind that camera. If the drone operator were immediately identifiable, however, I would have no problem. That is exactly the issue Fotokite tries to solve.
In this video update, we show that a quadrocopter can be safely piloted by hand after a motor fails, without the aid of a motion capture system. This follows our previous video, where we demonstrated how a complete propeller failure can be automatically detected, and that a quadrocopter can still maintain stable flight despite the complete loss of a propeller.
Raffaello D’Andrea demos his quadrotor “athletes” at TED Global 2013.
Update with the full video below
Check out live tweets, amazing photos, TED blog posts and awesome video coverage of the session Those Flying Things at this year’s TED Global, featuring the work of automation and controls expert Raffaello D’Andrea, and drone ecologist Lian Pin Koh. We will be adding new material here as it becomes available, so check back soon. Photo credit: James Duncan Davidson.
Last Tuesday I had the pleasure of attending VLAB: Drones – The Commercial Era Takes Off at Stanford GSB. The event was truly fantastic and the panel was amazing. The moderator was Chris Anderson, former editor at Wired and CEO of 3D robotics. I’m really struck by how much he has become the face of the commercial drone industry.
This video, by MotherboardTV, was posted on YouTube in early December, but, at just over 50,000 views, it hasn’t yet reached the audience it deserves.
Not knowing much about drones to begin with, the MotherboardTV team started out by talking with P.W. Singer, author of “Wired for War”. From there, they flew to Amman, Jordan, to attend a military trade show, where they met Chris Barter, Scout Program Manager at Datron. Accepting his invitation to vists the Datron campus in San Diego, they got an opportunity to fly the Scout for themselves. (The Scout is produced by Canadian firm Aeryon Labs and marketed by Datron.)
While in Southern California, they also stopped by 3D Robotics for a chat with Chris Anderson and a couple of their engineers, filling out the picture with the DIY perspective.
The past year was a watershed moment for robotics. From defense to exploration, startups to legislation, we saw products, laws, and investments that have shifted robotics out of the lab and into our lives. They have built on decades of basic and applied research, taking advantage of plummeting component costs and maturing core technologies such as batteries and communications. Below are the top 10 stories of 2012. And choosing only 10 from so many successes, research, and new products was extremely difficult. Perhaps that’s really the best story of the year.