MIT Students Get Shown Around via Drone

The Techy Way to Take a Tour

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Quad Copter Tour Guides?

Senseable City Laboratory, an MIT research group has been working on a program and app called SkyCall. It's purpose is to help newcomers to the MIT Campus find their way around. MIT is apparently one tricky place to navigate and the labs director Carlo Ratti wondered how they could help.

Loaded with sensors and custom software, the SkyCall Copter would be triggered by a smartphone app and find it's way to the user who then uses the app to tell the drone where he would like to go. Using on board speakers, the drone could then request the user to follow and provide valuable information during the trip. An autonomous tour guide if you will.

Currently it is just a prototype, but the idea is sound. Someday drones will be giving guided tours all over the world at vacation destinations, college campuses, and even large corporate facilities.

SKYCALL (2 min 2 sec)

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Oct 10, 2013, 11:29 AM
Registered User
mklinker's Avatar
Yes, it is a cool concept, but it is a small application of a long term problem. This project did not help solve any of the actual problems which surround complex aircraft navigation-- which is how do you autonomously navigate a multicopter indoors/outdoors.

You could do it with GPS and motion capture cameras. You could use laser scanners, RF tags, etc. So is it possible? Yes. Is MIT about to install motion capture cameras across its campus? No. Is the sensable city lab working to solve the navigation problem? No. This project was nothing more than an idea-- it is like trying to run before you can walk. Right now anyone with a Phantom could guide me around MIT campus the same way they did in the video.

Sorry for the condescending attitude, but I am upset that they post a video depicting that this is something that they can do. Now everyone thinks that I am being led around campus with a quadrotor. If you want to see cool, actual technology, look up the videos from the MIT Aerospace Controls lab.
Oct 10, 2013, 01:14 PM
Registered User
branflakes's Avatar
hey! awesome documentation of similar FAA violations trappy is getting sued for, cool vid mit


-sustained uav flight around, over, in, people and property unsuspecting.

-pecuniary interests (college enrollment equals compensation)

-nlos travel from home base signal


by direct, unavoidable extension, if anyone likes this video they are pro urban FPV. i am totally pro urban fpv within reason if that matters. I support a tiny quad doing what it does here, size matters for safety and that one is ok imo. Im sure prop guards wouldnt be imprudent for many but otherwise harmless. examining double standards was my brainstorm.
Last edited by branflakes; Oct 10, 2013 at 04:07 PM.
Oct 10, 2013, 03:48 PM
Wake up, feel pulse, be happy!
Piece's Avatar
There's been a narrowing in the gap between "practical science" and "creative thinking" lately, namely with regard to brand-new or rapidly-evolving technologies.

No matter how good the autonomous guidance systems get, you can never fully solve issues like the human factor - what happens when somebody decides to play tag with the quad, throw books at the quad, knock the quad off course, or any of a billion other possible activities which would forcibly disrupt its mission? Honestly, they're talking about sending a tiny unmanned aircraft flying around a college campus as a tour guide. It almost sounds like a joke.

Quote:
Currently it is just a prototype, but the idea is sound. Someday drones will be giving guided tours all over the world at vacation destinations, college campuses, and even large corporate facilities.
... It's funny because this is exactly what we've been hearing about robot slaves and flying cars for decades. We don't even have REGULAR robot slaves yet, and now we're supposed to get excited about the promise of FLYING ones?
Oct 10, 2013, 06:03 PM
DFC~ We Do Flyin' Right
Vapor Trails's Avatar
wow, MIT does it again!
Oct 11, 2013, 09:40 PM
www.solarenergyglow.com
jan michael's Avatar
SAFETY FIRST!!! crash and cut student is BIG problem!
Oct 11, 2013, 11:03 PM
Registered User
Heh.. I wasn't even thinking about the safety aspect of it. The whole time I was thinking how a quad that size would have to recharge halfway through the tour.
Oct 13, 2013, 11:00 AM
Ascended Master
Sparky Paul's Avatar
Self-driving cars do this in a larger scale.
But with no 3rd dimension concerns, and no plummeting when the battery dies.
Nov 27, 2013, 08:50 AM
Home of A-10 - Farmingdale NY
boiko's Avatar

CNN SkyCall Article - Love reading the article's comments..


Quote:
Originally Posted by mklinker
Yes, it is a cool concept, but it is a small application of a long term problem. This project did not help solve any of the actual problems which surround complex aircraft navigation-- which is how do you autonomously navigate a multicopter indoors/outdoors.

You could do it with GPS and motion capture cameras. You could use laser scanners, RF tags, etc. So is it possible? Yes. Is MIT about to install motion capture cameras across its campus? No. Is the sensable city lab working to solve the navigation problem? No. This project was nothing more than an idea-- it is like trying to run before you can walk. Right now anyone with a Phantom could guide me around MIT campus the same way they did in the video.

Sorry for the condescending attitude, but I am upset that they post a video depicting that this is something that they can do. Now everyone thinks that I am being led around campus with a quadrotor. If you want to see cool, actual technology, look up the videos from the MIT Aerospace Controls lab.
It's OK...and agree with you 100%...

But as someone who lives 45 minutes from the MIT campus...thought I would share this from CNN (you've probably already seen this..).

DJI F450 strikes again..just add an app.and the media...

http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/20/tech/i...iref=allsearch

One of the my favorite comments.."Get that flipping thing away from me, its messing up my hair. Did I pay extra for this inconvenience in my tuition? Keep it, I want a refund..."

It's sometimes funny reading how the general public and media react to a world many of us here live in...as multirotor hobbyists.

-mike-
Nov 27, 2013, 09:07 AM
DFC~ We Do Flyin' Right
Vapor Trails's Avatar
Autonomous robotic plane flies indoors at MIT (2 min 48 sec)


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