Consumer drones have come a long way in just a few years, evolving from complex hobbyist models to consumer-ready quadcopters with increasingly smart cameras and controls. But they are still unable to autonomously avoid obstacles — an ability that would completely change the flying experience and make drone-based services much, much safer.
AscTec, which makes professional-level drones, will begin shipping its “Firefly” drone with obstacle-detecting sensors later this year. It incorporate’s IBM’s RealSense 3D cameras, which Wired reported are smaller and lighter than other options.
Five years ago, it would have been impossible to build a setup like AscTec’s. Moderately sized drones are limited…
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