Navigation has always been a key aspect in the drone world. After all, a drone is only as good as its movement. A drone’s directional capabilities and ability to move through obstacles can be the main difference between a good drone, and a destroyed one. One wrong move and it can lead to catastrophic damage to both the drone and its surroundings. Tense situations have surfaced involving aircrafts and drones nearly colliding with each other. Even more complain about the safety of an area when a drone is passing through.
The good news is, like with any technological device, drones march forward. MIT’s Computer Science and AI Laboratory have created a system they have called the “NanoMap”. This system immensely helps a drone’s navigation through complex environments and obstacle courses, all while still maintaining a decent pace of 20 miles per hour. The Nanomap system has many practical uses in the field. For example, delivery drones can have an easier time navigating through the streets and alleys, avoiding people, cars, and other structures along the way. Drones can use the system to chase footage of an escaping criminal that is actively trying to evade the cameras. Search and rescue missions where vision needs to be established at an irregular area would be much easier to clear.
The Nanomap works by utilizing the drone’s uncertain position to its advantage. When forced to constantly reconsider its position, the drone was found to have had an easier time getting around obstacles that come its way, while still maintaining its speed. Think of it more as a drone that constantly calculates changes in the environment, instead of simply following a path. This system can make it possible for drones to be more integrated in society, with drones being able to fully navigate and match the high pace of movement on cities. Drones can come at closer quarters, navigate through tighter corners, and still maintain the integrity of its container.
The effects of the system being implemented has already shown results. Drone accidents and crash rates have been reduced from 25% to a mere 2%, a significant difference in safety and error.