MAV Lab Makes Drone Autopilot System Open Source

MAV Lab Makes Drone Autopilot System Open Source

Drones aren't just for the military anymore.

There's something so fascinating about flying a remote-controlled aircraft that our collective inner child longs to do. Now there's hardware and software that anyone can copy and use for free. The Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands designed the world's smallest drone autopilot system, the Lisa/S chip. The chip is only 4-square centimeters, and its software is based on Paparazzi, another open source drone autopilot system. It can be used with any type of drone.

These micro air vehicles are not the same kind of drones we often think of. Bart Remes, project leader for the Lisa/S chip, says these aircraft are a great way to teach aerospace engineering because they are safe, easy to program, and more informative of the world than a simulation. "The main reason we chose to open source is that we want to make it available for society," Remes said.

US-based electronics company 1BitSquared will begin selling Lisa/S chips in Jan. 2014, but any company will be able to sell chips based on the technology because of it being open source.

Unmanned aerial vehicles, known as drones, are used on missions too dangerous for manned aircraft. While the military has put these aircraft to use, they also have civilian use such as aerial mapping and surveys, forest fire detection, archaeology, and search and rescue.

Remes envisions a time when every fireman will have a drone for search and rescue missions. He hopes this can happen within a few years. With the technology being open source, users will be able to improve and add on to what already exists. Who knows what the future holds?

Source: Wired

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roseofbattle:

Remes envisions a time when every fireman will have a drone for search and rescue missions.

I envision a time when some low-rent Anarchist/Terrorist decides to strap a bomb on a R/C plane and uses this chip to pilot it where he wants.

Oh....R/C bomb delivery plane.......BRB!!!

I honestly dont think that this is a good idea, at all

sleeky01:

I envision a time when some low-rent Anarchist/Terrorist decides to strap a bomb on a R/C plane and uses this chip to pilot it where he wants.

This chip is not required in order to make a remote-controlled, remote-detonated explosive device.

josemlopes:
I honestly dont think that this is a good idea, at all

I honestly don't see how this chip replicates anything that isn't already available to your average civilian.

josemlopes:
I honestly dont think that this is a good idea, at all

Why do you think this lets people do anything they couldn't already? Just how far would you be satisfied in going if you were free to ban anything that could be used for terrorism?

Please remember that terrorism is a spectacular but RARE cause of death, and that humans are very, very bad at treating such things in proportion to mundane but common causes. About a person a minute dies from smoking-related illness in the US. That outdoes 9/11 every two days. But terrorism even pales in comparison to OTHER rare but spectacular causes of death. More people die from lightning every year in America than have been killed in terror attacks here in the last ten years.

Let's not panic over every little thing that might enable terrorism. There are other more dangerous things to worry about. If smoking or heart disease are too boring for you, natural disasters kill far more people than terrorism and the government consistently takes away funding for disaster mitigation every year. They're taking down the tsunami sirens in Oregon, even though we're likely to experience a Tohoku-scale tsunami this century, and the USGS is being forced to abandon on-site monitoring for volcanoes that threaten airways just so they can focus on the ones that could threaten around 150,000 lives, and they still get funding cuts every year. Now, if there were a remote possibility of a terror attack that could kill 150,000 people in the next 50 years, how much money do you think would be thrown at it? Why does death by bomb get the attention, but more death by nearly any other means doesn't?

 

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