How AI Technology is Used in Autonomous Drones

How AI Technology is Used in Autonomous Drones

How AI Technology is Used in Autonomous Drones

Artificial intelligence or AI for short can arguably be said to be the buzzword in the tech world presently. Everywhere you look or any tech meet-ups or conferences that take place in recent times, it’s just all about Artificial Intelligence.

This got to the extent that several facilitators of these conferences in various time zones around the world all use different expressions but with the same meaning stating that “AI is the future of technology”.

It was reported recently that one of the speakers at a tech event made a proposition for the utilization of AI in the finals of the last champions’ league finals between Real Madrid and Liverpool. This actually was in reference to the hard tackle from Sergio Ramos against Mohammed Salah. Of course, nobody loved the tackle save the Real Madrid fans. Alright, let’s get back on talking about AI.

It’s being referred as the future is actually not far-fetched due to the fact that AI has several branches or off-shoots in another aspect of techs such as machine learning, deep learning, and even data science. AI is all about data in and of itself. Likewise, AI is also being applied in several aspects of life such as chatbots, self-driving cars, mechanized agriculture, and even drones. Talking about drones, isn’t it wonderful to visualize the coming together of artificial intelligence with drones? We certainly are.

Autonomous drones in and of themselves create an avenue where difficult tasks are accomplished within unimaginable times. Examples such as drones that monitor a herd of sheep, inspecting and taking snapshots and recordings of the farmland, used in logistics companies as package delivery to deliver goods on time, for taking accurate measurements of the length and width of a designated acre, as a means of emergency services, used as device for repair in cases of building collapses, spying on individuals as an outward CCTV for surveillance or even as a killing machine in wars and so on.

From the above examples, we have seen the usefulness of these drones however with the inclusion of AI in their functionality, will they still be beneficial for use or will they become a set of harmful unmanned aerial vehicles? We’ll know more about that in a bit.

The Application and Benefits of AI Technology in Autonomous Drones

Numerous individuals, scientists, companies across the globe have begun putting lots of efforts in producing the type of drones that will, in the long run, reduce human intervention or assistance in controlling the operations of drones. Without a doubt, this means that the drones will be glad to take the jobs of humans for a long time. Though, this job replacement will be replicated for the humans in terms of production.

autonomous Crazyflie

Autonomous Crazyflie 2.0 Nano Quadcopter flying with AI

A group of scientists and researchers from the University of Bologna and ETH Zurich have created the first nano-drone. This drone has the capability of flying itself without any human assistance. This development in and of itself certainly reveals new ways to include artificial intelligence (AI) as well as limited processing power in autonomous drones. They used a lightweight residual convolutional neural network (CNN) architecture called DroNet to maximize the drone’s power and memory challenges.

One of the lead scientists; Antonio Loquercio, on the research project made a mention to the fact that this is the first time a drone could be controlled in this fashion. It indeed means that there’s no need for computing and external sensing. As a point of note, he also stated that the same principles in drones still remain the same, that is, the use of steering angle and the collision probability prediction.

As written in their study, these autonomous AI drones that feature only a few centimeters in diameter and in weight could bring new capabilities and possibilities to agriculture, natural disaster assistance, logistics, industrial inspections, hazardous area management etc.

Another kind of autonomous drone that adopts AI technology is called R1. The R1 was manufactured by a drone startup in Redwood City, California. After working on this project for about four years, they were able to unveil this AI-powered quadcopter that shoots 4K video of a subject. Unlike the traditional drones that stabilize themselves through the use of GPS, Skydio’s R1 uses a custom computer vision system. This is made possible with the installation of 13 onboard cameras that do real-time mapping and path planning. This enables it to maneuver complex places all on its own and as well avoid obstacles. Interestingly, it doesn’t even come with a controller.

Skydio’s R1 autonomous drone

Skydio’s R1 autonomous drone

With this in place, we have seen so many investors believing in the possibilities of even advanced features in the nearest future. By the way, the R1 cost $2,499 and there’s no better time to invest in such a product than now.

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