It’s got some pretty impressive reactions!
Drones are agile things, but they’re not exactly known for their quick reactions. If you want to knock one out of the sky, a well-thrown ball or even a spear should do the trick. Not for much longer, though, as researchers from the University of Zurich have created a drone that can autonomously dodge objects thrown at it — even at close range.
You can see the quadcopter showing off these skills in the video above (though no-one tested it with a wrench). And okay, some of those throws are pretty easy, but the drone is still reacting completely autonomously. And although we’ve seen quadcopters that can maneuver around static objects like trees, avoiding moving items mid-air is much trickier.
The University of Zurich’s drone, though, has one big advantage over commercial quadcopters: an advanced sensor known as an event camera. While traditional cameras record a set number of frames each second and pass them on to software for processing, event cameras only send data when the pixels in its field of vision change in intensity. This means they use less data and have lower latency. In other words: a quicker response time.