NT Robotics @ the Commercial UAV Expo Americas in Las Vegas

NT Robotics showed its Autonomous Indoor Navigation System for drones at the Commercial UAV Expo Americas in Las Vegas, the largest commercial drone event in North America, with more than 200 companies exhibiting.

NT Robotics team: from left,  Nick (CEO), Lucy (MM), Andrey (Engineer), Yana (CRO).

A full press release was posted on the Commercial UAV news exhibitor’s page: NT ROBOTICS INDOOR NAVIGATION SYSTEM FOR AUTONOMOUS FLIGHTS IN GPS-DENIED ENVIRONMENTS

The technology is based on Computer vision and Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM).

It requires no preliminary map preparation. The drone is equipped with many sensors that help it determine location, tilt, altitude and other parameters important for the flight, even in multi-tiered and multistoried environments. It does not require a pilot or any other human action. 

The navigation system consists of scanning lidars, stereo camera, IMU, flashlight, onboard computer + software.

The following upgrades to the products were made based on customer feedback after the Commercial UAV Expo in Amsterdam this April.

  1. 2D lidar was changed to 3D lidar. On 2D lidar the drone saw only an approximate perimeter of the room. 3D lidar shows the complete wall, including all irregularities, openings, etc.
  2. Replaced the original two rangefinders (one measured the distance to the floor and the other to the ceiling) with 2D lidar. The lidar not only measures the distance to floor and ceiling, but also sees their irregularities. The change provides 360 degree coverage, since 3D lidar sees only the sides, while 2D lidar sees both top and bottom.

The changes allow the drone to build a detailed, exact three-dimensional map, with no need for a flat or horizontal floor.

The next challenge is to make technical inspections more advanced and make the drone smaller and lighter, so it can more easily enter any manhole.

Nick being interviewed about the drone

Most of the drones presented at the exhibition were outdoor, manned, GPS versions for making video analytics, external examinations, 3D map building, etc.. In addition to drones, there were all sorts of service companies with data analytics, inspections, surveying, etc. There were also many manufacturers of components (batteries, screws, sensors, lidars, etc.).

We learned about interesting new drone usage talking to visitors, such as the following:

Fire fighting

Installation of a fire alarm system that includes a three-dimensional model of the house and a 14” drone with built-in fire extinguisher. When the system identifies a fire it determines where the fire is, turns on lights if it’s dark, and starts the drone. The drone takes off from its landing site, flies to the room where the fire is, locates the source, and extinguishes the fire using its own extinguisher. It then returns to its launch site.

Viniculture drones

A helicopter-type drone for precision agriculture. It flies for four hours at a speed of 50 km/h (31 mph) and very accurately sprays the vineyards. To do this, it flies at an altitude of 4-5 m (13-16’) above the vineyards.

NTR Robotics specialize in technical inspections of boilers, oil tanks and similar places. We are available and interested in opportunities for test flights and pilot projects around the world. 

Earlier this year NT Robotics went to the Commercial UAV Expo Europe in Amsterdam. Read about it here

NT Robotics Contacts:

CEO Nick Mikhailovsky nickm@ntrlab.com.   

CRO Yana Kazantseva ykazantseva@ntrlab.com, Skype: yana.kazantseva.

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