“Follow-me” functionality popularized by consumer drones will drive the development of sense and avoid technology for autonomous vehicles of all sizes. Personal drones for photography will exponentially increase testing and accelerate the development of the technology. Drones that can automatically avoid crashes and avoid obstacles can increase the safety and versatility of drones. Autonomous conflict avoidance also reduces stress on the pilot, making indoor flight easier and expanding where drones can be operated. Many consumer drones available today have “follow-me” crash avoidance technology used for semi-autonomous flight. A subject is kept in the frame, and a separate pilot is not needed. This is ideal for capturing solo activities where the drone operator is in the field of view, perhaps doing backflips, cartwheels or smiling. Obstacle avoidance would be a logical stepping stone to fully autonomous drones, but getting there will likely require more energy efficient processors to do the necessary calculations onboard the drone. Connectivity technology like 5G will help minimize lag time between the movement of the drone and the calculations performed in the cloud or via operator device.
This trend is part of our section on Drones. Other trends in this section include:
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