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Unmanned Systems & Drones

Research drones can also see at night

Conventional drones can only perform their tasks during the day. A prototype from the University of Zurich is now equipped with a special night vision camera.

29 Sep. 2017
Source: Robotics and Perception Group / Universität Zürich
(Photo: Robotics and Perception Group / Universität Zürich )

Although common drones are already able to be guided by GPS at night and in bad weather, they are not able to deliver usable pictures and do not find the sought objects. A research group headed by Professor Davide Scaramuzza from the Robotics and Perception Group at the University of Zurich has now introduced a new type of camera that helps drones see at night.

The event camera does not capture single images during the drone's flight, but looks at changes in brightness in each pixel. In this way, it delivers sharp images even when there are fast movements and poor viewing conditions. Simultaneously, the scientists have also developed software with which the drone can also orient itself without GPS in low light conditions and independently reach its goal.

Professor Scaramuzza and his team documented the results of their research in a PDF , and the successful laboratory tests are presented in a YouTube video . However, the authors of the study emphasize that there is still a long way to go before there's a finished product.