People and Environmental friendly
Since its early beginnings, our philosophy at senseFly has been to design flying robots that have minimal impact on the environment and can operate in the vicinity of people without endangering them.
For many applications, our autonomous mini-drones can efficiently replace manned aircraft that tend to be noisy and polluting. Not only are they zero-emission vehicles, but they weigh so little that they represent a far lower risk to the population in case of failure. In fact, we wanted them to be so lightweight that we had to take inspiration from biological systems to discover efficient ways of designing and controlling them. On top of that, our R&D team is according a large part of their effort to implement fail-safe behaviors in order to cope with in-flight failing components. Finally, senseFly’s drones are not designed to spy on people. We leave that to military and surveillance drone makers. They are professional mapping tools taking vertical, photogrammetry-grade images. This also means that human faces or license plates are not visible on the images they grab.
Onboard Artificial Intelligence
Our proprietary autopilot at the core of all or products is the result of years of research and development.
We selected the best miniature sensors, carefully characterized them, designed the electronic circuit boards to accommodate them and programmed the microcontroller ourselves in order to obtain the smallest and smartest autopilot of its class. Our R&D team is bringing together top-notch roboticists, who are by essence multidisciplinary. All of our engineers completed a MSC or PhD thesis in autonomous robotics or artificial intelligence. They develop, and constantly improve, intelligent and adaptive algorithms that are tailored to our flying platforms in order to get the most out of them. Although you can always take manual control of our mini-drones, you don’t need to do so as they are truly autonomous systems, capable of controlling their flight throughout the mission even in case of communication loss.
Research and development
The technology of senseFly’s minidrones first emerged in 2001, when a team of robotic researchers in the Laboratory of Intelligence Systems (http://lis.epfl.ch) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) led by Prof. Floreano began investigating the control and navigation strategies of flying insects. This pioneering research team developed a highly integrated autopilot employing smart sensors and control strategies similar to those found in flies and bees. The first step was to achieve autonomous flight and collision avoidance on a 10-gram indoor flyer using passive, low-resolution visual sensors and miniature inertial sensors.
The smart bio-inspired control strategy for low-altitude flight and obstacle avoidance was then demonstrated on an outdoor flying platform, the ancestor of the swinglet CAM.
A few years latter, the same research lab showcased the first outdoor aerial collective system involving up to 10 robots flying with no backup pilots.