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Autonomous hovering drones invade Germany

We welcome the swarm of autonomous hovering robot overlords being made by students at Humboldt University. The goal of this project is to build an autonomous hovering platform that is controlled via adapted insect behavior. Navigation comes from monitoring real time inputs, such as air pressure and optical sensors, not by predefined paths and GPS coordinates.  Some examples of this adapted behavior are: navigation via polarized sun light like African ants, and optical flow similar to bees.

You can see the platforms in action on Spiegel Online, but unless you understand German, you won’t get much else out of it.

If any of this seems familiar, it’s because we covered CCCamp 2007, which was near Berlin and had some very similar quadcopters. While the large quadcopter platforms have been around for a while and are steadily coming down in price, there are some new alternatives out there that are quite tempting.  Anyone want to build some autonomy into this little baby?

[thanks fh]

Comments

  1. Befread says:

    Well as long has they aren’t programed to attack picnics. But seriously what’s the big freaking deal.

  2. arthur92710 says:

    Lol they used a cd spindle to cover it.
    Thats really cool, wish I had one, or the time to make one.(too much school work)

  3. underdog says:

    Wow, when I read the blurb, I thought humboldt U referred to Humboldt State University, a uni that I live quite near to. Instead, it was a german uni, who knew? :)

  4. nubie says:

    Hot for teacher?

    Ahem. That is one of the coolest hacks I have seen on this site lately.

    I love the CD case for a cover and the foam pool floatie(?) bumpers.

  5. From Germany says:

    @nubie:foam pool floatie(?) bumpers.

    Nope thats foam isolation material for hot water tubes. I don’t know the exakt name for this in english.

    @underdog: Humboldt was a german naturalist, explorer and co-founder of the science of geography. There are several universities in germany named for him.

  6. val says:

    Because we do not pay for the University it is not necessary to get money. Research is without the need of success to fullfill a sponsor.
    i realy like what they say in the interfew.
    They do not want the millitary to get anything out of this research.
    they search other uses of it.
    when i was at a future-fare in new york, nearly everything that was a bit autonom was financed and presented by the millitary.

    i think the goal of this project is, to get a simple visual tracking and positioning system without the need of complex visuall calculations.

    cheers

  7. Hubert Paulson says:

    Something like this would be useful for those family tree researchers who are wanting to do surveys of old cemeteries. Using such a platform with a remote controlled camera would allow photos of the cemetery to be taken to aid in plotting locations of graves, which are at some time being cataloged.

  8. sckirklan says:

    that’s what I want for my birthday!

  9. Fox says:

    Build yourself a Quadrokopter:
    http://mikrokopter.de/ucwiki/en/Mikrokopter-Get-started

    ;-)

  10. jim chafin says:

    Id love to have a small craft like this. i could use it to search for lost/missing people. runaways. kidnaped victims.walkways from nurseing home…ect. an on board cam. with nightvision. constable jim chafin po box 364 Greenup county ky 41139

  11. Mr. Mustard says:

    We can do better. Try this: two tilt actuated rotors and a gyro. The idea behind this being a lighter base, allowing room for more stuff while still being able to take off.

    Their autonomy seems to be fairly simple, wiki Braitenberg Vehicles. Take that principle and put some code similar to artificial neurons in between the sensors and the actuators and you’ve got yourself a contender.

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