From TechCrunch

By Matt Burns

SkySpecs has solved the biggest problem with drones: avoiding obstacles. With the company’s first product, launching today at TechCrunch’s Hardware Battlefield 2015, drones become aware of their surroundings and will automatically avoid objects. If a person walks towards the spinning blades of death, the drone will casually back out of the way. If there is a tree in the way, the drone will avoid it.

Best of all, this system works with existing drone platforms.

Full article here SkySpecs' Guardians

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  • Why are they using angled arms and motors? Isn't it just less efficient and more complex to build?

  • Hobby King has sonar censors for like $5 each.

  • Hi Euan,

    Great to hear you got a Lidar Lite, I wonder why 3DR doesn't have them yet, in fact can't even find them listed in their store anymore.

    Probably worth posting pulsedlight3d's link.

    This is definitely going to be the year for relative navigation, obstacle avoidance, path finding and SLAM.

    No more utter reliance on GPS and absolute navigation.

    Best Regards,


  • Wow.  From the knowledgeable comments above, I have no doubt the drone obstacle avoidance problems will soon be solved.  The GRASP Lab at the University of Pennsylvania are also working on drone obstacle avoidance and formation flying using nano quadrotors. Pretty impressive innovation.

  • The pulsedlight3d unit is i2C too, so could be chained together into 5 units, if you had enough ports. Be interesting to see if the arducopter code can accomodate more than one unit (or how you would designate and calibrate 5 units).

  • By strange coincidence, I just got my pulsedlight3d LIDAR in the post. The perfect replacement for the $5000 unit here?

  • That Hokoyu LIDAR is $5000, and outdoor performance is questionable.  Also, only 30m range which is OK for low speeds, but certainly not high speeds.  It is only 210g, so it could be flown on a small quad if it's the only payload.

    I'm more concerned about the fact that they probably hacked in an intercept between the RC Tx and the DJI flight controller.  This is the problem with closed source.  The whole thing needs to be baked in with the flight controller code, not added as an intercept of the pilot's input.

  • Hi Tom,

    Hmm - Sky Spec - Sky Net the computer that became "self aware" in Terminator.

    That didn't turn out so well.

    Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your viewpoint) probably not self aware, but rather obstacle sensing and avoidance.

    Our own trusty Pixhawk platform is rapidly approaching the capability for a limited degree of this using the Pix Optical Flow cameras, it is a small leap from stationary obstacle avoidance to dynamic obstacle avoidance.

    And very nice laser range finders are coming down in price Lidar Lite or Liteware ones.

    With a simple forward scanning brushless gimbal set up can provide a very nice basis for a more discriminating obstacle and path response system.

    The real secret is going to be using as little hardware and computing power as possible to still achieve a worthwhile outcome (desired result).

    Probably going to need something at a minimum like the Nvidia Tegra Jetson with 192 GPUs to get a reasonable real time response rate.

    Should be an interesting year.

    Best Regards,


  • Solved? you mean solved by slapping a Hokuyo UTM-30LX on top and extra cpu. a 550mm copter will barely lift it with xtra battery and gimbal, etc..., mind that any 350mm or smaller will not lift it at all.

    Now, appears techcrunch didn't goto CES: AscTec's intel real sense solution has very good promise. Then credit's due: ArduIMU team (using pre-APM, Jose! ) was doing pong demos with ultrasound sensors back in what? 2010?

  • Good luck to fellow Michigan grads!
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