An Autonomous Omnicopter That Can Play Catch

January 9, 2018

Cool but next time throw it like a baseball.

This is a video of the Fetching Omnicoper, an "omni-directional eight-rotor vehicle" that can predict the flight path of a ball and catch it in a little net. The copter has a "unique actuator configuration that gives it full force and torque authority in all three dimensions." Damn, I wish I had some torque authority. Or any kind of authority. You there, stop! Hey! What the -- he just spit at me! Dad, come back.

We have developed a computationally efficient trajectory generator for six degrees-of-freedom multirotor vehicles, i.e. vehicles that can independently control their position and attitude. The trajectory generator is capable of generating approximately 500,000 trajectories per second that guide the multirotor vehicle from any initial state, i.e. position, velocity and attitude, to any desired final state in a given time. In this video, we show an example application that requires the evaluation of a large number of trajectories in real time.

Obviously, if you're like me and your friend-meter is currently hovering around zero, this is the perfect copter for playing catch. Who needs human friends anyways, right? All they're gonna do is backstab you and steal your girlfriend anyways. "Sounds like you've been burned before." I have been -- badly. "What happened?" I tried to shoot a mortar firework up the chimney.

Keep going for the video.

Thanks again to Rob, who agrees you don't even need a friend to play catch if you've got a nice flat wall to throw against.

  • Bling Nye

    Call me old fashioned, but 'playing catch' implies the other person/robot throwing it back to you for you to catch. This is more like 'fetch'... oh, and FFS it even says 'fetching omnicopter' in the video.

    We learn more about GW every day, today for example, that he was taught growing up that 'fetching' was 'playing catch'. ...That's sad... I'll show you how to play catch, little buddy.

  • Geekologie

    :(

  • The_Wretched

    When they dropped the ball into the ocean and told you to get it, they were disappointed you made it back at the next low tide.

    EDIT: lol

  • Jenness
  • Bling Nye
  • The_Wretched

    It looks cute now but this is the precursor for what you need for flying kill bots. We're doomed.

  • Doog

    They already exist, pretty much anyway. Kalashnikov has created autonomous robots that can acquire targets and independently make decisions about whether or not to fire. Sure they don't fly (yet), but this is just one example.

    I really hate sounding all doom and gloom end of the worldy, but we're at the edge of the end of the world and there seems to be no real power stopping us from jumping. The voices that are among those trying to limit AI-controlled weaponry have no real power to prevent those that want to see it happen. Honestly, I can't believe there's even a conversation to be had about whether or not we should give any AI complete independence when it comes to target acquisition and especially weaponry.

  • Doog

    Totally appropriate TL;DR and it's Futurama which is a win in itself!

  • Bling Nye

    This one will catch the body parts sent flying by the other robots.

  • Andyman7714

    This one is designed to catch only ball sacks. They're major trophies for killer robots.

  • Meh

    Since it tracks the object, now make it shoot it with lasers mid air.

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