Feature Story: Innovative drone research opens opportunities
Drones are getting smarter. Dr. Raman Paranjape, Professor, Electronic Systems Engineering and graduate students Muhammad Faheem, Seang Cau, and Shehryar Khurshid are enabling drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to move autonomously and recognize and track specific objects independently by using various algorithms including Simultaneous Location and Mapping (SLAM) and extended Kalman Filters. Depth perception is the visual ability to perceive the world in three dimensions and determine the distance of an object. People are able to perceive depth because we have two eyes, each receiving slightly different visual information, which is combined in the brain giving us a three dimensional picture of the world. A UAV, which typically has only one camera as its eye, cannot perceive depth and without an operator guiding its movements it would soon crash.