Canadian Trio Developing Vision-Based Navigation for UAVs

Drone Delivery Canada (DDC) recently established a partnership with the University of Toronto and Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) to jointly develop a vision-based navigation solution for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) so that they can safely navigate without the reliance of GPS technology.

The “sponsored research and collaboration agreement” was established through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s collaborative research and development granting program.

DDC will be integrating its proprietary FLYTE autopilot system for the project. The company’s aim is to use its drone platform as a Software as a Service for government and corporate organizations.

The initiative will be co-led by Professor Angela Schoellig and Professor Tim Barfoot of the University of Toronto’s Institute of Aerospace Studies (UTIAS).

Schoellig heads up the Dynamic Systems Lab at UTIAS. She is also an associate director of the newly founded Center for Aerial Robotics Research and Education at the University of Toronto and has been working with aerial vehicles for the past eight years. Barfoot, who holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in autonomous space robotics, is the principal investigator of the Autonomous Space Robotics Lab at UTIAS.

DRDC, which is co-funding the project alongside DDC, is the agency of Canada’s Department of National Defence.

“We are working on this next-generation, beyond-visual-line-of-sight drone technology with some of Canada’s smartest minds,” comments Paul Di Benedetto, chief technology officer of DDC. “This collaboration will greatly accelerate our development of vision-based navigation technology for our FLYTE software management and autopilot systems – required for commercialization.”

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