A drone is a body for a computer. Inside its electronic brain, the moving vessel matches input from sensors, like cameras, to motion, like the spinning of rotor blades. Which makes it all the more remarkable when this little autonomous drone, using only onboard computing and a camera, can fly through a narrow slot, oriented at 45 degrees, traveling at over 10 mph.
The miniature drone, using only a camera and an inertial measurement unit. It isn’t the first robot to fly through windows, but it does so at speed, with a bare minimum of equipment, and requires no outside sensors or power supply to do so. And it can even fly at 90-degree angles.
The drone was assembled by the University of Pennsylvania’s Vijay Kumar and his lab. It relies almost entirely on onboard processing, with one slight detail (the location of the obstacle) provided by researchers in advance, though Kumar told IEEE Spectrum that integrating that is the next step of development.
Watch it below: