Aggressive Quadrotors Zip Through Narrow Windows Without Any Help

Quadrotors are capable of doing some incredible stunts, like flying through narrow windows and thrown hoops. Usually, when we talk about quadrotors doing stuff like this, we have to point out that there are lots of very complicated and expensive sensors and computers positioned around the room doing all of the hard work, and the quadrotor itself is just following orders.

Vijay Kumar’s lab at the University of Pennsylvania is often responsible for some of the most spectacular quadrotor stunts, but their latest research is some of the most amazing yet: They’ve managed to get quadrotors flying through windows using only onboard sensing and computing, meaning that no window is safe from a quadrotor incursion. None. Anywhere. You’ve been warned.

When you watch quadrotors flying indoors, if you look closely, you’ll almost always see a motion-capture system in the background: Arrays of external cameras mounted on the walls that work together to collect very precise positional information hundreds of times every second. In this screenshot, you can see part of the camera array,…[Read more]