02/17/2023 at 08:32 by Claus Ludewig – The Crazyflie drone from a research group at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne should be able to orientate itself like a bat. Cameras and lidar sensors are completely dispensed with.
More and more people are buying a drone to be able to take spectacular pictures of their surroundings. The world’s largest manufacturer of civilian drones DJI from China is at the forefront. Most unmanned flying objects use cameras in combination with sensors for orientation. Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne have now succeeded in using a different type of orientation. The bat serves as a model for the Crazyflie drone.
Orientation possible at night without a camera
This is how ultrasonic waves are emitted. When these sound waves bounce off obstacles, the bat pounces on its prey. With this method, orientation can take place even at night. For the drone, this means that a manufacturer can save the cost of an expensive lidar sensor or camera.
In order to imitate the methodology of the bat, the drone is equipped with a piezoelectric buzzer in the middle. MEMS microphones are attached to the four rotor arms, which record the reflections of the buzzing noises. A built-in chipset then calculates an image of the environment from the incoming signals. As the developer Frederike Dümbgen explains, expensive measurement microphones were deliberately avoided in order to keep costs low. By using multiple microphones, the angle at which the object to be flown around is located can also be determined.
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Collection for the Crazyflie drone:
Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne have now succeeded in imitating the orientation mechanism of bats in a drone. The Crazyflie is equipped with a piezoelectric buzzer in the middle. MEMS microphones are attached to the four rotor arms, which record the reflections of the buzzing noises. A built-in chipset then calculates an image of the environment. With this method, the drone can orientate itself without having to rely on a camera or expensive measuring microphones.