Augmented reality company Augmented Pixils has announced the launch of a new division in their company that will specifically focus on building navigation systems for drones and robots.
In a newsletter from CEO Vit Goncharuk, he explains that the company has received seed investments through Hive in March 2015, which they have applied to the new department.
Most recently known for it’s real estate and education focussed augmented reality apps, it seems that for the past 2 years, the company’s R&D team has been working in stealth mode on a computer vision system (SLAM and inert sensor fusion) which will be used for developing products that focus on problem solving use cases for drones (e.g crashing indoors, precise product delivery, house inspections, filming 360 videos, etc.)
SLAM stands for simultaneous localization and mapping and is the same type of technology that is being used for helping autonomous vehicles such as Google X’s Self Driving Car project to build data maps of it’s environment and then orient itself within that environment.
In the video above, you can see a preview of one of the navigational system prototypes which allows you to pilot a drone with an iPad using virtual reality. The app seems to sense the drones environment and offers navigation spots over the room.
I had a quick chat with CEO Vit Goncharuk and he was able to answer a few questions:
Is this project only software based or are you also working on hardware/camera technology too?
You mentioned SLAM technology. So then does the system actually read the environment and offer predictable safe navigation zones based on that data? Based on the demo video, this seem like the basic idea. Does this have any relation to Google’S Project Tango?
“No relation. Tango is not required but it could work with depth camera, etc.”
Will you be offering this as a service or will you actually be selling a product? Basically will you be building your own drones, or just licensing the tech to drone/robot manufacturers?
“We are planning to offer this as a platform for drone manufactures as well as a service for companies (i.e. inspections etc)”
When can we expect a first release?
“First release should be middle of January.”
There is a Slide Share presentation on LinkedIn that discusses the project in more detail.