Every once in a while we get a tip for a project that really, really, really blows our minds. This is one of them.
It looks like a basic catamaran with a few extra bells and whistles — except it is so much more than that. You’re looking at a fully Autonomous Surface Vehicle, complete with a piggybacking 6-rotor UAV. It’s decked out in cameras, sonar sensors, laser rangefinders, high accuracy GPS-RTK tracking, an IMU, oh, and did we mention the autonomous 6-rotor UAV capable of taking off and landing on it?
It all started out as a simple experiment within ECHORD (the European Clearing House for Open Robotics Development), and since then it has become a fully funded project at UNINOVA, a Centre of Technology and Systems in Portugal.
The purpose of the mind-blowing robot team is to collect data of river environments — think of it as Google Maps 2.0 — which is almost an understatement for what it is capable of.
You seriously have to watch the video after the break.