NEWS: TeraRanger Tower for Drone Anti-Collision

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Sensor and sensing solutions company, Terabee, has released a new video showing how their alternative to traditional rotating LiDAR scanners, the TeraRanger Tower, can be used to perform drone collision avoidance against a wall.

Based on APM 3.5, they’ve written drivers allowing the TeraRanger Tower to feed data to the autopilots’ object avoidance code-base. Terabee claims this is the first time this has been done using static LiDAR sensors – a concept many in the robotics field had previously questioned. But here we see it working, simultaneously monitoring eight points at fast refresh rates, with no mechanical parts for beam deflection or sensor rotation.

Terabee CEO, Max Ruffo, explains, “There has long been a perception that to perform navigation, Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) and collision avoidance you have to “see” everything around you. So people focus on complex solutions – like stereo vision – gathering millions of data points which then requires complex algorithms and resource-hungry processing. This complexity creates scope for many failure modes! Our approach is different in that, we monitor fewer points, but we monitor them at very fast refresh rates to ensure that what we think we see, is really there. As a result, we build less intense point clouds, but with reliable data. This then requires less complex algorithms and processing and lighter weight computing, resulting in more robust and potentially safer solutions, especially when you can make some assumptions about your environment, or harness odometry data to augment the LiDAR data. Many times we were told you could never do SLAM monitoring just eight points, but we proved that wrong. Now we’ve applied the same hardware module – and the same thinking – to a drone!”

As a result, we build less intense point clouds, but with reliable data. This then requires less complex algorithms and processing and lighter weight computing, resulting in more robust and potentially safer solutions, especially when you can make some assumptions about your environment, or harness odometry data to augment the LiDAR data. Many times we were told you could never do SLAM monitoring just eight points, but we proved that wrong. Now we’ve applied the same hardware module – and the same thinking – to a drone!”

For now, this is a Proof of Concept, but Terabee can develop this further and is open to collaboration from customers and developers. If you are interested to know more, you can contact Terabee at teraranger@terabee.com. You can also purchase the TeraRanger Tower from their eStore at: http://www.teraranger.com/product/teraranger-tower/

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