How drones are learning to find their own way in the world

By David Hambling, Aviva Rutkin and Conor Gearin Special delivery REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattray Smart navigation When you’re zipping through the air at 60 kilometres per hour, it can be hard to work out where you’re going. But now drones can create detailed 3D maps as they fly – an advance that could let them navigate the world free from human input. Called Hydra Fusion, the system could one day allow drones to use a form of navigation known as simultaneous localisation and mapping to find their way in unfamiliar spaces – just as some robots do on the ground. It will also make them better at aerial surveillance. Hydra Fusion works by stitching together multiple images – in this case, consecutive frames of footage from a drone’s video camera – to…

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