Drones in science: Fly, and bring me data
Unmanned aerial vehicles are poised to take off as popular tools for scientific research.
By: Emma Marris | Posted 12 June 2013
Teams working on UAVs tend to keep abreast of each other’s work through videos posted online. The field’s biggest YouTube ‘star’ is Vijay Kumar at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Kumar’s group controls quadrotor helicopters indoors with a modified Vicon system — the motion-capture system used in Hollywood and by the video-game industry. His videos show drones flying in tight formation, transporting two-by-fours, and even — in one video with more than 3 million views — performing the James Bond theme on multiple instruments. “The Internet has changed the rules,” says Shim. And, Siegwart says, “It also spreads the information a little further, which helps attract good students.”