Drones can be smarter than you think

posted in: Tech Talk | 0

Drones are typically unprogrammed at the hobbyist level.  But with some processing power added, you can get them away from the joystick and have them fly according to commands, or responses, or even better – to their environment.

I can see all kinds of applications from unmanned surveillance, to simple things around a home.  Autonomous flight is here now and many organizations are working on software that can utilize this capability in many new ways.  This video from a Ted Talk is showing drones instantly making decisions on their flight to perform skills that they were programmed for.

I don’t know about you, but I am fascinated to see where this goes.

I know a group in Los Angeles that has been working for the last several years to control robots and drones with object oriented programming languages like Ruby, JS, and Go.  The Hybrid Group has been instrumental in creating tools for this and have so much amazing open source code that you would be amazed.

I had the pleasure of going to a hack night where we used Artoo (the robotics language for Ruby).  During the hack night, we used sphero remote control balls to learn to code their movements.  This was not simply utilizing a program for remote control, but actually writing code to tell the sphero what to do in certain situations.  So, in theory, we were making it autonomous.  Within an hour, I had my sphero running patterned movements on the floor.  And if the pattern was interfered with, the program directed the sphero to turn red and spin in place for a few seconds – then take off in another direction.  First, I have to say, I am not a professional programmer.  But, I was able to take my little programming skills and turn them into something amazing in one short hack night.  And my head started reeling with the ideas that I could come up with to apply this level of programming to drones.

So, hold on to your hat – I think you’re going to see drones used more and more for commercial applications.  Watch the video and see what you come up with.