We’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe

 

It’s like that quote from Blade Runner. It feels like we’ve seen things now, that you wouldn’t believe. Maybe not attack ships on fire or glittering C-beams on our hangar gates, but not far from it. Here’s why.

A few weeks ago, we received our brand new depth-sensing cameras from Intel. The new generation of RealSense™ cameras, called D435, beats its predecessor in all aspects; field of view, resolution, and range, to mention just a few.

 One of seven Intel® RealSense™ depth cameras mounted on our DJI S900 drone.

One of seven Intel® RealSense™ depth cameras mounted on our DJI S900 drone.

However, integrating seven camera units on one drone is not not an easy task. The D435 required improved power distribution, and the amount of data being processed in real-time by our onboard computer is now getting close to 5 GB per minute. You don’t have to do the math. We did. It’s a lot.

Fortunately, the last weeks of struggle has payed off and our visual navigation system is now running on some fantastic depth data. Our drones sense the world like never before. The film above visualises the drone’s surroundings in the form of a point cloud as it stands on the floor in our lab. And all these moments are actually stored, and not lost, like tears in the rain.

(If you get an irresistible urge to watch that Blade Runner scene again, you’re welcome.)