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Home » Vijay Kumar on Robots That Fly … and Cooperate (Full Transcript)

Vijay Kumar on Robots That Fly … and Cooperate (Full Transcript)

Vijay Kumar

Full text of roboticist Vijay Kumar on Robots That Fly … and Cooperate at TED Talk conference.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Vijay Kumar on Robots that fly … and cooperate


Good morning. I’m here today to talk about autonomous flying beach balls. No, agile aerial robots like this one.

I’d like to tell you a little bit about the challenges in building these, and some of the terrific opportunities for applying this technology. So these robots are related to unmanned aerial vehicles. However, the vehicles you see here are big. They weigh thousands of pounds, are not by any means agile. They’re not even autonomous. In fact, many of these vehicles are operated by flight crews that can include multiple pilots, operators of sensors, and mission coordinators.

What we’re interested in is developing robots like this — and here are two other pictures — of robots that you can buy off the shelf. So these are helicopters with four rotors, and they’re roughly a meter or so in scale, and weigh several pounds. And so we retrofit these with sensors and processors, and these robots can fly indoors, without GPS.

The robot I’m holding in my hand is this one, and it’s been created by two students, Alex and Daniel. So this weighs a little more than a tenth of a pound. It consumes about 15 watts of power. And as you can see, it’s about eight inches in diameter. So let me give you just a very quick tutorial on how these robots work.

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