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by , ,   -   October 21, 2016

Saga Agriculture Robots

Swarms of drones will help farmers map weeds in their fields and improve crop yields. This is the promise of an ECHORD++ funded research project called ‘SAGA: Swarm Robotics for Agricultural Applications’. The project will deliver a swarm of drones programmed to monitor a field and, via on-board machine vision, precisely map the presence of weeds among crops.

Additionally, the drones attract each another at weed-infested areas, allowing them to inspect only those areas accurately, similar to how swarms of bees forage the most profitable flower patches. In this way, the planning of weed control activities can be limited to high-priority areas, generating savings at the same time as increasing productivity.

by   -   October 7, 2016

Romy Mueller interviews Raheeb Muzaffar who has developed a framework that improves the transmission of videos between moving drones and mobile devices at ground level.

interview by   -   August 6, 2016


In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Fredrik Gustafsson, Professor in Sensor Informatics at Department of Electrical Engineering in Linköping University, about an initiative to reduce poaching in a rhino sanctuary in Ngulia, Kenya. Gustafsson discusses how he first became involved in this project, how he has worked with the rangers to develop solutions, and the future of this work.

by   -   February 22, 2016

Last week Raffaello D’Andrea, professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) and founder of Verity Studios, demonstrated a whole series of novel flying machines live on stage at TED2016: From a novel Tail-Sitter (a small, fixed-wing aircraft that can optimally recover a stable flight position after a disturbance and smoothly transition from hover into forward flight and back), to the “Monospinner” (the world’s mechanically simplest flying machine, with only a single moving part), to the “Omnicopter” (the world’s first flying machine that can move into any direction independent of its orientation and its rotation), to a novel fully redundant quadrocopter (the world’s first, consisting of two separate two-propeller flying machines), to a synthetic swarm (33 flying machines swarming above the audience).

interview by   -   June 12, 2015

cyphy droneIn this episode, Audrow Nash speaks with Helen Greiner, CEO and founder of CyPhy Works and co-founder of iRobot, about CyPhy Work’s LVL 1 photography drone. The LVL 1 drone has six propellers that are angled up and rotated slightly, which allows the drone to fly without tilting; flying without tilting is significant because, Helen says, it makes the drone more intuitive to control, as well as removing the need for a costly and high-maintenance camera stabilizing gimbal system. 

interview by   -   May 29, 2015


In this episode, Audrow Nash speaks to several robotics companies at the company showcase at RoboBusiness 2014, which took place in Boston, Massachusetts.

by   -   April 15, 2015


Following a Kubrick’s 2001 lookalike teaser video, 3D Robotics (3DR) presented their most ambitious product yet, ‘SOLO’ – an advanced quadcopter that above all focuses on ease of use and hassle-free operation, along with some quite unique features.

by ,   -   September 11, 2014

The purpose of the “Aerial Clicker” is to crowdsource the tagging of aerial imagery captured by UAVs in humanitarian settings.

by   -   June 16, 2014


On June 10th, the FAA issued a press release announcing their approval of the first commercial UAS flight over land. According to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, this represented an “important step toward broader commercial use of unmanned aircraft” in the US. What do experts inside the drone community think of this development? 

by   -   June 13, 2014

The Federal Aviation Administration’s rules on civilian use are currently on hold by a federal court, and in the interim, companies are scrambling to take advantage of using drones to deliver product.

by ,   -   March 28, 2014


What’s with all the quadrotors in auto advertising these days? And what do quadrotor swarms have to do with cars? Probably not much at all, but apparently associating your auto brand with high-performance quads is de rigeur. Subaru is following the lead of Lexus (which launched its quadrotor ad last November), upping the ante by having the driver of the new WRX STI engage in a pas de deux (or should we say, ‘pas de plusieurs?’) with a swarm of 300 LED-lit quadrotors. It makes for some pretty stunning footage, but before you get too excited, unlike the original Lexus ad (which had at least a decent portion of real footage from Kmel’s impressive quads) almost all of the quadrotor eye-candy in the new Subaru ad is CGI. The automaker’s desire to associate themselves with cutting edge technology may be a sign of just how popular quadrotors have become, but is hyper-realistic CGI enhancement inflating consumer’s expectations of what quadrotors can actually do? (see the video below)

by   -   March 4, 2014


UPDATE 04/03/2014:

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. 

by   -   December 16, 2013


The DelFly Explorer, a flapping wing MAV equipped with a 4-gram stereo vision system that can fly completely by itself in unknown, cluttered environments. © Delft University of Technology.

The DelFly Explorer is the first flapping wing Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) that is able to fly with complete autonomy in unknown environments. Weighing just 20 grams and with a wingspan of 28cm, it is equipped with an onboard stereo vision system. The DelFly Explorer can perform an autonomous take-off, keep its height, and avoid obstacles for as long as its battery lasts (~9 minutes). All sensing and processing is performed on board, so no human or offboard computer is in the loop.

by   -   November 18, 2013


Quadrocopters assembling tensile structures in the ETH Flying Machine Arena. Photo credit: Professorship for Architecture and Digital Fabrication and the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control, ETH Zurich.

The team at the ETH Flying Machine Arena has released three new videos, demonstrating quadrotors building tensile structures, tossing a ball back and forth, and refining a figure-eight trajectory using iterative learning. Worth the watch!!

by   -   November 12, 2013

Did you know that the world’s population is set to increase from seven billion people to more than nine billion in the next 40 years? In order to meet this growing demand, agricultural producers will have to increase food production by a staggering 70 to 100 percent. This all needs to happen in a world with increasingly unpredictable weather patterns and ever-rising farm input costs.

You probably have a pretty good sense that I am a firm believer that precision agriculture and information is a big part of the answer. This is all about leveraging technology to provide more timely and accurate data in a way to increase efficiency and productivity by cutting time and overall cost. It is about doing more with less. But how are we getting there?

Soft Robotics Toolkit
April 17, 2015

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