This fencing drone proves that the whirring machines don't have to be graceless idiots.
What looks like a Renaissance Faire from the future is actually footage from a test to see if an autonomous quadcopter can avoid high-speed obstacles — in this case, the obstacle being a jabbing fencing blade.
This man-vs.-machine experiment spotlights the real-time kinodynamic planning algorithm developed by Stanford's Autonomous Systems Laboratory. In short, it is a solution to drones smashing into shit.
The framework allows high-speed robotic systems, including drones, to avoid obstacles in real time while simultaneously navigating a path.
See? This fencer's stabbing efforts are futile.
This real-time solution provides far more value beyond making for an amusing video. This highly responsive obstacle avoidance algorithm will pave a way for safer drone deliveries, minimizing the risk of collisions. For Amazon, which wants to use these tiny flying machines as an extension of its on-demand delivery service, Prime, this framework could also prevent theft; if thieves try to intercept a delivery, the drones could read them as obstacles and reroute their paths.
It'll also please amateur drone hobbyists, who may be prone to flying their expensive pieces of soaring hardware into a wall or building. Pilots should be happy too, as they've seen an increase in drones all up in their airspace.
If drones can dodge epees, there's no telling what they'll amaze us with next.