EPFL develops delivery drone with centimetric accuracy

Researchers at the EPFL Intelligent Systems Laboratory claim to have drawn inspiration from origami to create this delivery drone, and this is why However, this is not the only innovation brought about by this unique drone: it is capable of lifting a 500 gram load and delivering it completely autonomously, avoiding unforeseen obstacles and reaching its delivery point with centimetric precision. The drone has been designed to deliver by hand in the most literal sense of the word, as its accuracy and protection systems allow the receiver to grasp the drone directly.

The flight of the EPFL origami drone is completely autonomous, programmed by a mobile application Photo: © 2017 EPFL / Laboratoire des systèmes intelligents

EPFL researchers have made every effort to design their delivery drone with safety in mind. This quadricopter is totally protected from a spherical cage that will allow it to bounce on an obstacle or protect a pedestrian in case of unexpected fall. The cage but also the arms of the drone itself are foldable so that the volume of the folded drone is reduced by 92%. It can therefore be easily transported in a backpack to the scene of an accident or disaster in order to transport 500 grams of medication to a immobilized person who will be able to grasp the drone directly. As soon as the cage is opened, the motors automatically stop. In addition to rescue, the drone could also be of interest to postal services and e-merchants for small deliveries. The aircraft could also be equipped with a parachute to fly over inhabited areas.

Funded by NCCR Robotics, the Swiss robotics project fund, this origami drone has already successfully flown 150 flights. Will its protective devices push legislators to loosen their position with regard to deliveries by air and finally accept the overflight of places inhabited by delivery drones? The whole E-commerce sector and its carriers are waiting for this!

Translation : Deepl

Source: “A drone to deliver small parcels quickly”, EPFL Press Release, 12 September 2017

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