Pretty amazing stuff from the DIY UAV world: robotics researchers at the University of Tübingen in Germany have created a small, fully autonomous helicopter that can track and land on a moving target--a simulated aircraft carrier landing pad mounted on the back of another robot--tracking its LED runway lights with a Wiimote's infrared camera.
It's an interesting demo of what can be done with ultra-cheap, consumer-level parts. Reading the info from the harvested Wii IR sensor, as well as onboard accelerometers monitoring the orientation of the copter, is an onboard Atmega microprocessor. Software analyzes the orientation and intensity of four LEDs on the landing pad, then regulates the four electric motors to guide it in for a soft touchdown.
The team is also working on a similar copterbot that uses photos from a mobile cameraphone to navigate open, outdoor spaces by comparing live images from the phone with a database of the surroundings.
Very cool. And since someone will nodoubt say it: Skynet! Autonomous robot landing on another autonomous robot. Cool stuff.
Get that margin of error down to <1 cm and you will have something amazing.
Very cool. The military applications of this are endless, and a scaled down version could easily be made into an RC toy. :D
wow people really love wii tech
couple this with bigdog from boston dynamics and you get AMEE from "Red Planet" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0199753/
Cool stuff, I cant wait to get my hands on one with a camera...
It is remarkable how much operational sophistication can be achieved with simple components and a few lines of very clever code in a relatively primitive micro processor. I suspect that this effort reveals much about the nature of intelligence and autonomous systems. It suggests that intelligent behavior is not as complex a phenomena as once believed.
Be nice if they could scale it up and use it to, oh I don't know, deliver construction materials to a worker on the roof, packages to the Post Office, garbage to the truck, water baloons to long list of people I happen to know....