Meet the dazzling flying machines of the future | Raffaello D’Andrea

Meet the dazzling flying machines of the future | Raffaello D’Andrea

What started as a platform for hobbyists is poised to become
a multibillion-dollar industry. Inspection, environmental monitoring,
photography and film and journalism: these are some of the potential
applications for commercial drones, and their enablers
are the capabilities being developed at research facilities around the world. For example, before aerial
package delivery entered our social consciousness, an autonomous fleet of flying machines
built a six-meter-tall tower composed of 1,500 bricks in front of a live audience
at the FRAC Centre in France, and several years ago,
they started to fly with ropes. By tethering flying machines, they can achieve high speeds
and accelerations in very tight spaces. They can also autonomously build
tensile structures. Skills learned include how to carry loads, how to cope with disturbances, and in general, how to interact
with the physical world. Today we want to show you some
new projects that we’ve been working on. Their aim is to push the boundary
of what can be achieved with autonomous flight. Now, for a system to function
autonomously, it must collectively know the location
of its mobile objects in space. Back at our lab at ETH Zurich, we often use external cameras
to locate objects, which then allows us to focus our efforts on the rapid development
of highly dynamic tasks. For the demos you will see today, however, we will use new localization technology
developed by Verity Studios, a spin-off from our lab. There are no external cameras. Each flying machine uses onboard sensors
to determine its location in space and onboard computation
to determine what its actions should be. The only external commands
are high-level ones such as “take off” and “land.” This is a so-called tail-sitter. It’s an aircraft that tries
to have its cake and eat it. Like other fixed-wing aircraft,
it is efficient in forward flight, much more so than helicopters
and variations thereof. Unlike most other
fixed-wing aircraft, however, it is capable of hovering, which has huge advantages
for takeoff, landing and general versatility. There is no free lunch, unfortunately. One of the limitations with tail-sitters is that they’re susceptible
to disturbances such as wind gusts. We’re developing new control
architectures and algorithms that address this limitation. The idea is for the aircraft to recover no matter what state it finds itself in, and through practice,
improve its performance over time. (Applause) OK. When doing research, we often ask ourselves
fundamental abstract questions that try to get at the heart of a matter. For example, one such question would be, what is the minimum number of moving parts
needed for controlled flight? Now, there are practical reasons why you may want to know
the answer to such a question. Helicopters, for example, are affectionately known
as machines with a thousand moving parts all conspiring to do you bodily harm. It turns out that decades ago, skilled pilots were able to fly
remote-controlled aircraft that had only two moving parts: a propeller and a tail rudder. We recently discovered
that it could be done with just one. This is the monospinner, the world’s mechanically simplest
controllable flying machine, invented just a few months ago. It has only one moving part, a propeller. It has no flaps, no hinges, no ailerons, no other actuators,
no other control surfaces, just a simple propeller. Even though it’s mechanically simple, there’s a lot going on
in its little electronic brain to allow it to fly in a stable fashion
and to move anywhere it wants in space. Even so, it doesn’t yet have the sophisticated algorithms
of the tail-sitter, which means that in order
to get it to fly, I have to throw it just right. And because the probability
of me throwing it just right is very low, given everybody watching me, what we’re going to do instead is show you a video
that we shot last night. (Laughter) (Applause) If the monospinner
is an exercise in frugality, this machine here, the omnicopter,
with its eight propellers, is an exercise in excess. What can you do with all this surplus? The thing to notice
is that it is highly symmetric. As a result, it is ambivalent
to orientation. This gives it an extraordinary capability. It can move anywhere it wants in space irrespective of where it is facing and even of how it is rotating. It has its own complexities, mainly having to do
with the interacting flows from its eight propellers. Some of this can be modeled,
while the rest can be learned on the fly. Let’s take a look. (Applause) If flying machines are going
to enter part of our daily lives, they will need to become
extremely safe and reliable. This machine over here is actually two separate
two-propeller flying machines. This one wants to spin clockwise. This other one wants
to spin counterclockwise. When you put them together, they behave like one
high-performance quadrocopter. If anything goes wrong, however — a motor fails, a propeller fails,
electronics, even a battery pack — the machine can still fly,
albeit in a degraded fashion. We’re going to demonstrate this to you now
by disabling one of its halves. (Applause) This last demonstration is an exploration of synthetic swarms. The large number of autonomous,
coordinated entities offers a new palette
for aesthetic expression. We’ve taken commercially available
micro quadcopters, each weighing less
than a slice of bread, by the way, and outfitted them
with our localization technology and custom algorithms. Because each unit
knows where it is in space and is self-controlled, there is really no limit to their number. (Applause) (Applause) (Applause) Hopefully, these demonstrations
will motivate you to dream up new revolutionary roles
for flying machines. That ultrasafe one over there for example has aspirations to become
a flying lampshade on Broadway. (Laughter) The reality is that it is
difficult to predict the impact of nascent technology. And for folks like us, the real reward
is the journey and the act of creation. It’s a continual reminder of how wonderful and magical
the universe we live in is, that it allows creative, clever creatures to sculpt it in such spectacular ways. The fact that this technology has such huge commercial
and economic potential is just icing on the cake. Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Meet the dazzling flying machines of the future | Raffaello D’Andrea

  1. uhh… omnicopter!… remembers me to those star wars ships the Tie fighter.. and the sounds.. nice, also the last ones to the Starcraft Carrier unit!!

  2. Now put together the Omnicopter with a Cubli. 😀
    Wait! Combine these with the Electromagnetic Levitation Gizmos. 😃
    Don't forget to attach a Go-Pro.
    But does all this mean that my notion that things can be levitated by sound waves is wrong?

  3. Now do a video that includes Pseudomonas syringae – a rain making bacteria produced by forests to amplify and maintain rainfall and keep themselves growing.

  4. This is just what they're showing us. In reality, (and this is a massive understatement) they're WAY more advanced than this. I'm not even all that impressed, this is nothing more than child's play.

    Kinda scary when you think about it, especially w/ this big push from some on the left to take our guns.

  5. Oh oh…
    Bet he wins the best neighborhood crhristmas decorations.
    Think no setting up stuff outside. Just release the hounds… er… drones..
    Enjoy the light show.

  6. I cannot sleep! Time check 1:31am. Instead of watching stupid videos. YouTube recommended this to me. Thanks God! I've learned a lot.

  7. А я просто хочу дрон… у меня в детстве такого не было! Хочу простой дрон с камерой. Просто полетать!!!

  8. Weapons after all. I fear them all. And if this cames out now, that means it existed already at least 250 years ago.

  9. Would be a fascinating display if the small drones at the end could be put in a fireworks display, launched within a firework & descending upon the crowd after an illuminating burst..

  10. Cuidado nos quieren repetir y devolver al principio de las elices,hoy día existen las tegnologias antigravedad económicas y mil veces más adelantadas,.
    Que buscan con indicarnos tegnologias ya odsoletas,no se equivoquen siempre buscan que nos muebamos alrededor de lo mismo,no puedo decir que este presentador no sea una innovación, pero es que quieren que siempre tiremos alrededor de lo mismo ,esto que les expresó sólo aquellos capaces comprenderán lo que les he querido demostrar con está contradicción de como tenemos que movernos hacia el futuro ,pero con nuevas he innovadoras tegnologias fuera.del acontecer humano, basta ya de lo mismo a lo mismo…

  11. Too bad youtoob doesn't show the video's date. I don't know if I'm watching an antique drone or something brand new.

  12. i wanna project with the last ones that they fly few minutes and then go to the charging statnion and the cycle is going again and again and again

  13. Hence forth antigravitational unicomagnetic enery (Dark matter))wich will take them through time and space without their little props.your right mate..but run where?

  14. at 8:40 muted the video and played the song clair de lune. it was amazing combined with the video. try it at home.

  15. Technology may be our demise. I feel we definitely are not where we need to be spiritually to have this kind of technology. There is still too much greed and power hungry entities running the show. With great power comes great responsibility, we are not ready for this kind of technology.

  16. An equivalent to God rolling the dice once too often with a body double sweetie drone bug transformation then going to prison… with less teeth. Otherwise pretty cool looking. And sounding.

  17. There will be no future if we keep doing technological progress via investments! Money = evil which cause environmental destruction because of human greed!!!

  18. Im glad to see this improvement.Guess what, usa and europe need new tecnological weapons for control the asia (whith weoponised terrorists like isil, ypg-pyd-pkk,sisi).I hope u wont let them to use these beauties killing innocents,

  19. Did anyone else hear the robotic sound at 9:29??? I'm pretty sure the drones are speaking, just me??? Yeah this is crazy lol

  20. As a combat vet….I see this being used to destroy mankind. Imagine everyone one of those little drones that were in sync being shot out of a rocket…each one armed with one 40 cal round and set to kill any moving target within a certain range. We are going to be the destructors of ourselves.

  21. This was uploaded in 2016. It's 2019 now but I don't see them anywhere except the typical camera drones. The small ones are really cool 😭

  22. Where are the anti-gravity devices from Area 51 ? All jokes aside, the lightning bug swarm was very cool.

  23. I want to learn this type of knowledge ,, i wanted to make by own projects, but i dont know the source for that knowlege….

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