ETH Zurich Brings Forth New Drone Controls And Structures

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If you believe Raffaello D’Andrea, the drones are ready to turn into a multi-billion dollar domain. There are a number of industries including journalism, photography, environmental protection, quality inspection, and agriculture that can benefit from these devices. In a recent interview, D’Andrea updated the viewers with the latest developments in drone projects. Rafaello has been making efforts to teach robots how to interact with outer world, how to overcome disruptions and carry loads around the world. Each robot needs to know the location of its fellows in a three dimensional arena in order to function autonomously in a group. These robots are able to understand each others position in D’Andrea’s lab located in ETH Zurich.

The demonstrations given on the TED floor employed onboard sensors for drones in order to understand their position and take sensible decisions. According to him, only external level commands are highest level control commands which instruct the machines to ‘land’ or to ‘take off’. A tail-sitter was demonstrated in form of two propeller that was etched with wing aircraft that can hover around. D’Andrea’s team has been working diligently to develop new controls for this tail-sitter that will allow it to recover from disruptions and disturbances such as wind gusts.

The craft called monospinner was created when the design team was asked to make an aircraft with minimum movable parts needed to fly an aircraft. This product is still a work-in-progress, therefore, the company showed a video in place of live demonstration. The perfect flight needs the craft to be launched in the air in a specific orientation. The omnicopter will come with 8 propellers that will make the craft move in any orientation. It is pretty simple to maneuver in all directions. The final demonstration would consist of a synthetic swarm of crafts that will have numerous commercial quadcopters improved with control algorithms. When every piece is aware of its accurate position in space along with position of its fellow swarm mates, here will be no limit to the number of microcopters that can be a part of swarm.

Throughout the session D’Andrea keep telling everyone about the safety and reliability of drones highlighting the idea that drone potential is increasing with every passing year. It is one of the biggest displays that highlights the ability of what a lab can do with advanced controls.