Video Shows Drone Helicopter Land on a Moving Platform

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Nov. 21 2011 4:44 PM

Video Shows Drone Helicopter Land on a Moving Platform

 A couple of weeks ago, Consumerist reported that drone helicopters are now being used to sell high-end real estate. Now we’re another step closer to fulfilling Popular Mechanics’ prediction that 2011 would be “the year of the drone helicopter.”

Torie Bosch Torie Bosch

Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. 

Unmanned aerial vehicles can take off on their own. Landing, however, is a trickier proposition—particularly if the target is moving, as with an aircraft carrier in the middle of an ocean. But researchers are making progress on the challenging landing front. Below, a drone hits a moving target without any help from a human being. (The YouTube text notes that there's a human on board in case something goes wrong, but he or she did not control the landing.)

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Gizmodo explains,

The helicopter does it all itself — largely using computer vision techniques. The chopper uses information from its cameras to predict the motion of its landing spot, simultaneously working out a trajectory which will allow it to meet its target smoothly.

The next step comes in 2012, when researchers will test a Boeing Unmanned Little Bird rotorcraft landing at sea on a French navy frigate.

Read more on Gizmodo.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.