Whilst there has been significant improvements in the ability of drones to map their environment, and to then use these maps to autonomously navigate it.
A Swiss team have prototyped a drone that can construct it’s own 3D map of an unfamiliar environment with minimal input from a human operator. It can then use this map to plot its own route around the environment.
A half-way point
Until such point as these kind of approaches become mainstream however, we will still require humans to play a big role in the piloting of drones.
A French project is underway in what they are calling the ‘Internet of Drones’. The concept, which has been devised by Uavia, would see drones equipped with the IoT enabling Snappy Ubuntu processor.
This would allow them to be operated by computers over a 3G/4G LTE network and differentiates it from traditional drones that are controlled through radio links, or via a tether. Whether tethered or radio powered however, both approaches tend to limit the range of the drone to within a few miles of its operator.
By using a high powered IP linkup with the drone, Uavia believe that their solution extends this significantly. What’s more, it will enable the drone to be operated via a browser, at least in the sense of scheduling its use.
They suggest, for instance, that companies could easily schedule a drone fleet to maintain utility lines, all from the comfort of their office, and then track the fleet from the same application.
The company has already tested its system out by flying a drone in Paris from a computer all the way in San Francisco and would offer users the option of utilizing drones without having to own them.
It will be a concept that is certainly worth keeping an eye on.