GRASP Lab’s Pelican on “Good Morning America”

April 11th, 2011

Penn Engineering has developed a suite of autonomous aerial robots that can autonomously navigate into unknown, three-dimensional environments, explore to obtain valuable information about the environment from its sensors and transmit this information in the form of a three-dimensional map to human operators who are safely located in a remote spot. All of the calculations required to fly, explore and map a structure is done onboard the robot; they do not rely on a human operator to control them. Because of their relatively low cost, tens or even hundreds of these robots could conceivably be dispatched in inaccessible, hazardous locations bringing back all the information required for disaster recovery.

Most recently, one of the robots made a live appearance Friday, April 1, on “Good Morning America” in New York. Research Assistant Professor Nathan Michael and PhD/MSE student Frank Shen of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics were on hand, demonstrating the robot’s autonomous hovering as “GMA” host George Stephanopoulos talked about how such robots could be used in the ongoing disaster-relief efforts in Japan.

Watch the “Good Morning America” segment here.

See the robot’s mapping in action in these YouTube clips

Hovering Test with Camera on GMA…Pictures