So you think it's pretty cool that your drone can climb to 400 feet and take a photo of your house? Just wait until you see what engineers have planned for the future.
DJI, the manufacturer behind the popular Phantom and Inspire quadcopters, has released a video showing off the technology it's working on for its next generation drones. At the center of this concept video is the Phantom X, which DJI dreamed up to include multi-angle shooting, AI, obstacle avoidance and free-flight object tracking.
Want to launch the Phantom X? Simply throw it into the air and it will hover a safe distance from you. Need a variety of camera angles for a high-speed action scene in a film? Go ahead an assign a swarm of drones to follow your subject and intelligently navigate to avoid obstacles. And yes, there's even a futuristic "sky paint" feature for anyone wanting to use the Phantom for more artistic pursuits.
While right now, many of these features are nothing more than concepts, we know that drones at the very least are on the verge of becoming much smarter when it comes to avoiding collisions. Late last month, an MIT researcher developed an obstacle-detection system that allows drones to dive, climb and avoid objects while cruising at more than 30 mph.
“Everyone is building drones these days, but nobody knows how to get them to stop running into things,” CSAIL PhD student Andrew Barry told MIT. His system takes advantage of a camera operating at 120 frames per second to create a real-time map of its surroundings. He hopes to improve the current design so that a drone could eventually navigate through a dense forest completely on its own.
Take a look at Barry's real-world technology in action below.