Drone Zips Through Narrow Windows On Its Own

University of Pennsylvania researchers have demonstrated a small, 250-g quadrotor that can perform aggressive maneuvers and fly through windows using only on-board sensing and computing. The control planning and estimation tasks are solved based on the information provided by a single camera and an IMU. Usually, quadrotors rely on a motion-capture system that involves arrays of external cameras, sensors, and computers that work together to issue commands. This is the first time that aggressive maneuvers are solved with such a small footprint vehicle, using only on-board sensors and without relying on external motion capture systems. The quadrotor is able to traverse narrow gaps requiring accelerations up to 1.5 g, and roll and pitch angles up to 90 degrees, with velocities of 5 m/s.