Let’s talk a little about sense and avoid technology. This is where your UAV will see an object and automatically maneuver itself to avoid hitting the object. The UAV uses sonar and cameras to see its position relative to objects. Pretty cool, right? It seems over the past year or so, both DJI and Yuneec offer models with “Sense and Avoid”. Amazon is also developing sense and avoid technology in order to safely deliver packages with their Amazon Prime Air drones. In my opinion this technology in its current offering is merely a gimmick and is still far from perfect.
Here’s why I say this. In any real world flying situation the current sense and avoid technology cannot process it’s environment fast enough to make it function. GPSs and barometers aren’t fool-proof and simply put cannot be relied upon to make flight decisions. This was proven when a YouTuber flew his Phantom 4 full speed at a chain link fence, the results we’re catastrophic and the Phantom hit the fence and disintegrated into little bits. Another video posted of the new Yuneec Typhoon H showed the technology being used to follow a skateboarder; a very slow moving skateboarder I must add. It seems the only way for this tech to currently function is to fly very slowly and in a real world scenario this is not the likely.
Kudos to the manufacturers of these products to live on the cutting edge of tech, but let’s face it, in its current form sense and avoid is not ready for prime time practical applications. I am, however, looking forward to what the future in UAV technology brings. Any technology that can make flying your UAV safer sounds like a positive to me. Until then, best to learn how to fly without running into stuff!