Autonomous Drones Can Land On Moving Cars Now

Autonomous Drones Can Land on Moving Cars Now

Self-driving cars might be all the rage these days, but what about the poor computer-piloted drones? Well, while no-one's been looking, they have been perfecting the aerial version of the patented Italian Job getaway. A team of researchers at the German Aerospace Center were looking for a way to lighten the payload of a solar-powered UAV, in order to extend its range. The landing gear is an obvious candidate to go — the wheels and gear don't just weigh a lot and they also cause serious drag, all of which lowers the potential time a drone can spend aloft.

So the team pulled off the wheels, but then needed an alternate way to land the drone. The solution is to drive a car with a roof-mounted net and giant QR codes: the drone matches the car's 80km/h speed, lines up with the tracking dots, and deposits itself into the roof.

The system doesn't take a talented pilot either: the landing was conducted autonomously by the drone, making it repeatable, and therefore a semi-practical option for drone landings — not to mention, a good weapon in Skynet's arsenal when it decides to kill all remaining human transportation.

[YouTube]


Comments

    Pretty much the same as an autonomous quadcopter landing on its home base...

    GPS gives a certain (low level) precision (for a fixed OR mobile base), optical flow and object recognition closes the loop. A Light based ILS system could also assist in the converging flight path (slope), that should allow for a faster convergence than demonstrated here ( 2-axis light signals should be camera readable for a precision visual approach).

    BTW UAV factory (manufacturer of Penguin) have demonstrated rooftop launches a long time ago, why the net and not just land in their launch cradle?

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