Autonomous Flying Robots Will Transform Society According To Davide Scaramuzza

Monday, December 3, 2012

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Flying Robots
In a recent TEDx Talk, Davide Scaramuzza,  Professor of Robotics at the Artificial Intelligence Lab of the University of Zurich presented some of the latest developments in autonomous flying robots. only the cameras on-board the robot to control navigation autonomously. According to Scaramuzza, with only on-board cameras, a robot can function just as people do with their own eyes. 
M icro flying robots are vehicles that are less than 1 meter in size and weigh less than 1kg. Potential applications of these robots are search and rescue, inspection, environmental monitoring and potentially, one day, food delivery. They can also compliment human intervention in all those environments where people cannot go such as a searching for survivors in a damaged building after a natural disaster.  For these applications, today's flying robots are still tele-operated by expert professionals.

In order to be truly autonomous, current flying robots rely on GPS or motion-capture systems. Unfortunately, GPS does not work indoors, while motion-capture systems require prior modification of the environment where the robots are supposed to operate, which is not possible in environments that are still to be explored.

Step in Davide Scaramuzza, Professor of Robotics at the Artificial Intelligence Lab of the University of Zurich.  His idea consists of using only the cameras on-board the robot to control navigation autonomously. According to Scaramuzza, cameras can function for a robot just as our own eyes do.  They allow the robot to perceive the environment and safely navigate within it without bumping into obstacles.

Additionally, they allow the flying robot to build a map of the environment which can be used to plan the intervention of human rescuers. This process is known as Simultaneous Location And Mapping (SLAM).

Scaramuzza, co-author of Introduction to Autonomous Mobile Robots, leads the Robotics and Perception Group and Adjunct Faculty at ETH Zurich of the Master in Robotics Systems and Control. He received his PhD in 2008 in Robotics and Computer Vision at ETH Zurich. He was Postdoc a both ETH Zurich and the University of Pennsylvania , where he worked on autonomous navigation of micro aerial vehicles. From 2009 to 2012, he led the European project "sFly", which focused on autonomous navigation of micro helicopters in GPS-denied environments using vision as the main sensor mode.

For his research, he was awarded the Robotdalen Scientific Awards (2009) and the European Young Researcher Award (2012), sponsored by the IEEE and the European Commission. He is also author of the first open-source Omnidirectional Camera Calibration Toolbox for MATLAB (a popular software simulation tool), which, besides thousands of downloads worldwide, is also currently in use at NASA, Philips, Bosch, and Daimler. His research interests are field and service robotics, intelligent vehicles, and computer vision. Specifically, he investigates the use of cameras as the main sensors for robot navigation, mapping, exploration, reasoning, and interpretation. His interests encompass both ground and flying vehicles.



SOURCE  TEDx Talks

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