US researchers have managed to make unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) even more menacing, arming one with the twin capabilities of attachable claws and depth-perception.
Researchers on a project funded by DARPA have successfully tested a hovering UAV that is capable carrying loads of up to one pound using an extendable arm. The flying robot is able to intelligently estimate a target’s position using depth perception, a skill requiring vision and stability that is difficult to achieve.
The ability to traverse even slight inclines also renders it infintely more frightening than your average Dalek.
Like all UAVs there are many different applications possible, particularly in the military, such as the accurate placement of explosive devices.
Considering the USA’s track record on drone use, the earth-skimming robot is also likely to do a fair job frightening Pakistani villagers.
The researchers developed a low cost stereo vision system that enables the UAV to search and find a target autonomously when coupled with a global positioning system. The UAV was then able to extend the robotic arm by six feet, while remaining steady enough to make accurate movements.
“Our goal with the UAV payload emplacement demonstration was to show we could quickly develop and integrate the right technology to make this work,” Dan Patt, DARPA program manager, said. “The success of the demonstration further enables the capabilities of future autonomous aerial vehicles”.
As you can see from the pictures below these drones already appear to be dangerously out of control, with footage of the prototype attacking a man in a park…
And another advancing on a ladder in a field, somewhere.