Thanks to the last great project published by a series of engineers and researchers from the MIT Today we can talk about the possibility, for the first time, of creating very small drones, much more than what we have seen to date but, at the same time, with the possibility that they offer similar functionalities to the best models that today day there is in the professional market.
This has been possible thanks to the creation of a new chip that, according to what has been published, consumes a fraction of the energy of conventional drone equipment at the same time that it can be adapted to a drone whose size could be as small as a plug. Thanks to this chip and the fact that it consumes so little energy, much smaller batteries can be used while, probably, the autonomy of the largest drones can be multiplied.
MIT makes it possible to create tiny drones as well as greatly extend the autonomy of a larger drone
As the teacher just said Vivienne Sze, one of the project leaders:
We are facing a new approach to designing the chip hardware and the algorithms that run on the chip. Traditionally, an algorithm is designed, and applied to hardware to figure out how to adapt the algorithm to the hardware. By designing the hardware and algorithms together, we can achieve more substantial energy savings.
We are discovering that this new approach to programming robots, which involves thinking about hardware and algorithms together, is key to reproducing them.
To understand this much better, tell you that apparently, during the tests carried out on this chip, it is capable of processing images at a 20 frames per second stream being even capable of automatically execute commands to adjust the orientation of a drone in space. To perform all these calculations the chip only needs to consume something less than 2 watts of power.