Amid reports and fears of using drones, new safety measures have come under radar and the University of Zurich team under Prof. Davide Scaramuzza, has developed a system to answer all safety concerns.
The prblems faced by drones could be running out of power, crash land requirement, finding safe-landing spot, executing safe-landing procedure, among others.
Moreover, potential crash landing situations arise when drones temporarily lose their GPS position information. This occurs when flying close to buildings where GPS signal is disrupted due to high walls or due to jammers on ground. In such situations, it is essential that drones can rely on back-up systems and regain stable flight, says researchers.
The drones of the UZH research group are equipped with a single camera and acceleration sensors. Their orientation system emulates the human visual system and sense of balance. As soon as a toss or a failure situation is detected, computer-vision software analyses the images to identify distinctive landmarks in the environment and restore balance, they say.
All image processing and control runs on a smartphone processor onboard the drone and it renders the drone safe and able to complete its mission without any communication or interaction with the operator, says the team.
“Our system works similarly to a tight-rope walker. When you balance on a rope, you fixate on some static points in the environment and shift your weight accordingly to restore balance,” says Matthias Faessler, co-inventor of the technology and researcher in Scaramuzza’s group.
The same software builds a 3D model of the environment, which is used to group the terrain beneath the drone into “risky” and “safe” landing sites. If an emergency landing is required due to low battery or system failure, the drone will automatically detect and land on a flat, safe location without any human intervention.