Drones are swift objects, but they are not well known in their rapid reactions. If you want to stir one in the sky, a well thrown ball or even a spear should do the trick. However, not for longer, as researchers from the University of Zurich created a drone that could autonomously dodge the things thrown here – even close.
You can see the quadcopter that shows these skills in the video above (though no one has tried it on a wrench). And okay, some of the throws are pretty easy, but the drone is still reacting completely autonomously. And although we have seen quadcopters that can walk around static objects like trees, avoiding moving objects in the middle of the air is light. "Davide Falanga said in research The Verge .
Giving drones an auto-dodge feature would be easy to use for a a lot of use cases The drones will be safer, allowing them to avoid flying birds or close people. It can also be used for military enforcement and law enforcement. If you have a drone monitoring protests, for example, being able to dodge thrown things is a very useful practice.
Falanga says dodging dynamic stuff is beyond the reach of even the most commercial advanced drones on the market today. that Skydio's R1 drone is likely to have the best autonomous feature but "it still works in the avoidance of moving things."
As Falanga and his colleagues, Suseong Kim and Davide Scaramuzza, unpack their research paper, there are many reasons for the limit. Technical factors include the ability to respond to drone motors and the latency of their sensors to create bottlenecks. What is easy for a person (well, most of the time) is incredibly confusing for electronics.
The drone of the University of Zurich, though, has a major advantage over the commercial quadcopter: an advanced sensor known as an event camera. While the traditional camera records a set of frames per second and passes it to the software for processing, the camera events send only data when the pixels in the field of vision change intensity. This means they use less data and have lower latency. In other words: quicker response time.
However, the cameras of the incident were unusual. They cost thousands of dollars and are not usually seen outside the research lab. Falanga said that eventually they hit the mainstream, but it would have years of development to bring them down to a reasonable cost. "I really think in the long run I think we'll see more and more use of cameras," he said.
Until then, drones will remain vulnerable to anyone with a good eye and a strong weapon.