Micro helicopters get new way of navigation

In recent years, flying robots have managed to obtain bulky, heavy, and GPS or remote control navigation system. This achievement may be a great one, but it still had some of the drawbacks. Therefore, researchers at ETH Zurich started EU project sFly in 2009 to develop flying robots that can surpass these disadvantages. Recently, the researchers have finished the development work, and their flying robots have left the nest successfully.

One of the main goals of EU project sFly is to reduce the weight and processing power of flying robots. As a result, the researchers of ETH Zurich collaborated with Ascending Technologies to develop flying robots with six rotors at a weight of just 1500 grams. This weight also includes the mounting of a miniature computer and three inbuilt cameras. Because of its light-weight feature, it is named as micro helicopters. Moreover, the diameter of the micro helicopters is around 50 centimeters.

The sFly micro helicopters get a new way of navigation with its three inbuilt cameras and a miniature computer. One camera is equipped for providing the information to the flight control unit, and the other two are mounted for three-dimensional modeling. The work of cameras is to deliver the real time images for calculating the flight movements of helicopters. It also includes a flight control unit for comparing the movements with the required values. In addition, it does several modifications if there is any deviation. A Wi-Fi connection in the onboard computer helps to transfer the captured images to the ground computer. Then, these images are created in 3D map, and it displays the obstacles in the flying areas.

The major advantage of the camera-based technology over a GPS is that it can work in both opened and closed environments. This new type of navigation also provides more perfect positioning of helicopters than GPS.

Overall, the newly developed micro helicopter could be used for search and rescue operations, especially in a GPS-denied atmosphere.

The below video brings you the demo of sFly micro helicopters:

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