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Are we ready for drones in our skies?

03 Jul 2015  | Junko Yoshida

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2. Collision avoidance technologies

AscTec Firefly

AscTec Firefly multi-copter drone demo during Intel CEO keynote at Consumer Electronics Show in 2015.

Many believe collision-avoiding drones are the key to the successful drone proliferation on the consumer and commercial market.

Being able to autonomously avoid obstacles is clearly a much needed safety feature, which many commercial and consumer drones today cannot do.

Intel made a splash earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas by demonstrating during a keynote speech the collision avoidance capability of an AscTec Firefly multi-copter drone, equipped with Intel RealSense cameras.

On an obstacle course set up in a ballroom, a number of AscTec Firefly multi-copter drones buzzed around and showed off unique collision avoidance capabilities. Integrated in the drones are Intel's RealSense camera module, which weighs only 8g and is less than 4mm thick, according to Intel. Intel said it brings "depth perception to drones both indoors and outdoors with minimal impact to payload and flight times."

Meanwhile, one of the pioneering drone company DJI is rolling out "Guidance," which it calls "the first commercially available collision avoidance for aerial platforms."

Guidance uses stereo cameras and ultrasonic sensors to detect objects anywhere around a UAV within 65ft, or stabilise it with "centimetre" accuracy above the ground, according to DJI. Developers can mount Guidance to the Matrice 100, DJI's quadcopter designed for developers.

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