Quadcopters taught to fly in flocks without GPS

Quadcopters taught to fly in flocks without GPS


The Internet is full of videos where swarms of drones fly nice and smoothly, while performing various tricks. So what? Because they rely on data obtained by the GPS, but what to do when no GPS to use it? Engineers at the University of Pennsylvania decided to teach the drones to do without them.

To do this, they took twelve small quadrocopters weighing 250 grams, has equipped each of them a kit aircraft, developed by Qualcomm Snapdragon. Each unit is equipped with a micro-computer based on Quad-core processor and includes VGA camera with a viewing angle of 160 degrees, two VGA-camera, working together, and 4K-the camera is necessary for shooting beautiful video.

Paired cameras allow drone to track other objects by defining I in what direction they move. The disadvantage lay in the fact that with increasing distance the onboard PC has ceased to correctly calculate the distance to objects, but the developers managed to fix the problem — now, at the distance of one hundred meters, the apparatus calculates the distance with an error of up to half a meter.

Thanks to drones, moving pack, not facing each other, are good at keeping distance and operation even in difficult conditions is shown by the results of tests in which drones had to fly and navigate outside in windy cloudy weather.