From IEEE Spectrum:

Skycall is a project from MIT's Senseable City Lab that explores "novel, positive uses of UAV technology in the urban context." It's also a tool to help clueless freshmen find their way around the MIT campus.

The quadcopter itself utilities onboard autopilot and GPS navigation systems with sonar sensors and WiFi connectivity (via a ground station), enabling it to fly autonomously and communicate with the user via the SkyCall app. The UAV also integrates an onboard camera as both an information gathering system (relaying images to a ‘base’ location upon encountering the user), as well as a manually-controlled camera, accessible to the visitor-come-tourist again via the SkyCall app.

Like most conceptual videos, reality is rather far from what's portrayed here, most notably when it comes to the autonomous indoor navigation. But, it might be feasible to have this thing leading students around campus outdoors, as long as they're willing to move at a speed that's compatible with the robot's battery life, and also willing to call campus police when a hapless Frisbee player gets accidentally decapitated.

Also, that is an alarmingly sultry voice for a quadcopter.

Views: 866

Comment by Alex Hills on September 13, 2013 at 7:40pm

Great idea, but I would add some prop quads on it before putting it on a busy campus

Comment by Eli Cohen on September 13, 2013 at 9:08pm

seems completely unnecessary for someone carrying a smartphone. it has all the sensors that a quad would have, battery life isnt the same issue, and safety isnt a problem.

a lot of people try to find uses for UAVs where perfectly simple solutions currently exist.


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Comment by David Anders on September 14, 2013 at 2:16am

Interesting...  But I thought the UAV would have taken to somewhere for a change of fashion?? 

Is that what the kids are wearing these days? o.O

Comment by Tilman Baumann on September 14, 2013 at 3:33am

Yea, a quad flying autonomously below head hight through busy streets. Riiigt.

Comment by Harry on September 14, 2013 at 12:17pm

These are your classes and the map is in the catalog, learn it.

Comment by Cliff-E on September 14, 2013 at 6:46pm

As the article mentions, liking the concept with it quad at face level (j/k of course).

Comment by Mike Klinker on September 16, 2013 at 2:09pm

This was a cool video showing what something might be able to do some day... thats all it is... cool. They didn't even come close to helping solve the problem of how do you navigate indoors and outdoors.

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