3D Robotics

ETH's Raffaello D'Andrea presenting at TED -- Wow!


ETH (home of Dronecode's PX4 project) is now leading the world in advanced drone tech. Just watch this amazing video...

Autonomous systems expert Raffaello D'Andrea develops flying machines, and his latest projects are pushing the boundaries of autonomous flight — from a flying wing that can hover and recover from disturbance to an eight-propeller craft that's ambivalent to orientation ... to a swarm of tiny coordinated micro-quadcopters. Prepare to be dazzled by a dreamy, swirling array of flying machines as they dance like fireflies above the TED stage.

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  • he specifically said no off board sensors or computation. but its possible with these sensors to determine the relative 3D locations of the drones to one another...all that is left is to localize one of them...

  • I was thinking it looked like a Crazyflie as well. Someone in my local hobby community is selling one off cheap, and I have debated pocking it up. Would you recommend it, Gary?
  • @Chris_Anderson, Thanks for the Pozyx link.  I'll be ordering some of those today! 

    The little quads swarming at the end of that TED talk look like Crazyflie 2's from bitcraze.  My guess is that they are using the DWM1000 UWB positioning modules that bitcraze has been talking about on their blog ( https://www.bitcraze.io/blog/ ), but ETH Zurich could have rolled their own solution.  I've met the bitcraze developers a couple of times and they are doing really great work to bring these kinds of advanced capabilities to 30-40 gram quadcopters...

    Blog | Bitcraze
  • 3D Robotics

    I just got the Pozyx ultrawideband indoor positioning modules. Four of them placed around a room give precise 3D position information (+-10cm).  It's $650 for the full setup for one vehicle, and $150 for each additional vehicle. 


  • I wonder how they designed the multicopter? Someone infinitely smarter than myself, I am sure, could think up such a design,but it almost looks thrown together randomly. Having played with genetic algorithms some, I could see something like a monocopter being designed through this process.
  • Thanks to Raffaelo and all the team involved for showing us the future

  • Outstanding as always!

    I particularily liked the swarming mini drones and monocopter...awesome work.

    As one would say: State of the art! ;-)

  • After seeing their current research about new localization technology, I think they have used Ultra-wideband range measurement to fusing with the IMU data, CMIIW



  • Developer

    I am adding an alternative link to VTOL paper mentioned by PX4 above (as the original link only provided the paper abstract).

  • Raff d'Andrea's group is using PX4 as their platform, but of course all the control algorithms and localisation system (and credit of course!) is theirs, so you can't just take PX4 and replicate their results. They have been fantastic in working with us on the infrastructure and VTOL, the beginning of the PX4 VTOL control effort was a joint project (videopaper). The IDSC is also a PX4 partner with ongoing collaboration (http://px4.io/about-us/partners/).

    And the lab can even take credit in having played a critical role in the birth of the MAVLink protocol: Lorenz Meier created the initial concept as his semester project for the flying machine arena and later generalized it, which then became MAVLink.

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