Researchers create world's smallest ever nano-drone with AI capabilities

The tiny drone flies without any human control

Researchers have created the smallest, completely autonomous nano-drone yet. Able to fit into the palm of your hand, this tiny drone requires no human guidance to fly.

"In the Internet-of-Things (IoT) era, nano-size UAVs capable of autonomous navigation would be extremely desirable as self-aware mobile IoT nodes," said the paper published earlier this month by researchers from ETH Zurich, Switzerland and Italy's  University of Bologna.

"However, autonomous flight is considered unaffordable in the context of nano-scale UAVs, where the ultra-constrained power envelopes of tiny rotor-crafts limit the on-board computational capabilities to low-power microcontrollers."

The drone is the latest in a series of models developed by a team of researchers and attempts to overcome these obstacles.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

Memory, bandwidth and power capacity are roadblocks to applying AI to drones, but this new drone only uses 94 milliWatts of energy. While the older model had to be in contact with a laptop running the convolutional neural network DroNet, this one uses the PULP (Parallel Ultra Low Power) platform. Its GAP8 chip is an ultra-low-power computing program based on RISC-V open-source processors.

Like the older model, however, the new one is only able to fly horizontally due to being trained with images from one plane.

Currently, a majority of unmanned drones in use are controlled by remote. In the UK, the use of drones has become widespread as it pushes the country closer to its an industrial strategy of improving efficiency, security and costs for businesses and government organisations.

The new UK regulations released this year, however, indicate that whether or not autonomous nano-drones become affordable, general use would still be restricted. Some rules include keeping the drone in sight at all times, not using it for commercial purposes and staying 150 feet away from people and buildings. Owners across Europe will also be required to register drones over 250g and pass safety tests.

Image: Shutterstock

Featured Resources

What you need to know about migrating to SAP S/4HANA

Factors to assess how and when to begin migration

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

Testing for compliance just became easier

How you can use technology to ensure compliance in your organisation

Download now

Best practices for implementing security awareness training

How to develop a security awareness programme that will actually change behaviour

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/strategy/28047/what-is-digital-transformation
Business strategy

What is digital transformation?

7 Aug 2019
Visit/business-strategy/careers-training/354419/the-uk-should-follow-finlands-lead-with-it-comes-to-ai
Careers & training

The UK should follow Finland's lead with it comes to AI training

19 Dec 2019
Visit/strategy/28071/what-is-machine-learning
Business strategy

What is machine learning?

27 Sep 2019
Visit/marketing-comms/34464/artificial-intelligence-is-just-clever-marketing-and-i-m-not-buying
Marketing & comms

AI is just clever marketing, and I’m not buying

20 Sep 2019

Most Popular

Visit/microsoft-windows/32066/what-to-do-if-youre-still-running-windows-7
Microsoft Windows

What to do if you're still running Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
Visit/operating-systems/25802/17-windows-10-problems-and-how-to-fix-them
operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

13 Jan 2020
Visit/hardware/laptops/354533/dell-xps-13-new-9300-hands-on-review-chasing-perfection
Laptops

Dell XPS 13 (New 9300) hands-on review: Chasing perfection

14 Jan 2020
Visit/web-browser/30394/what-is-http-error-503-and-how-do-you-fix-it
web browser

What is HTTP error 503 and how do you fix it?

7 Jan 2020