Autonomous Quadcopter Uses A Smartphone to Navigate

An autonomous quadcopter designed at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) can navigate through a room on its own, without any human interference or assistance by an external computer. The quadcopter's core element – and most expensive part – is a smartphone. Its camera provides the visual data and its processor acts as the control center. The quadcopter's intelligence, which allows it to navigate, was coded in a smartphone app. A microcontroller adjusts the rotor speed so that the quadcopter flies as steadily as possible. To test the quadcopter's navigational capabilities, the TU Vienna team attached visual codes - similar to QR-codes - to the floor. Hovering above these codes, the quadcopter recognizes them, obtains information, and creates a map of its environment. Once it has created a virtual map of the codes on the floor, it can head for a specific known location or go on exploring new areas.