Google’s Project Tango is designed to allow users to use a smartphone (or a rumoured tablet) to map the dimensions of an area so, of course, someone is almost bound to stick that sort of technology on a robot or drone or something. Actually, the drone thing has already happened.
University of Pennsylvania researchers have taken one of the Project Tango prototypes and used it to essentially give sight to a quadrocopter. It basically confers 3D depth perception to a drone or another piece of robotic tech, provided you do the legwork of fitting it before hand, allowing the drone in this case to stay away from obstacles like walls.
This sort of function isn’t new but having all of the components needed for a drone to guide itself somewhere without human input actually sitting on the drone itself is – though the video above shows only a basic implementation of the idea, drones fitted with Project Tango or an offshoot of it could one day fly themselves around without needing handlers. Just instructions. As long as those instructions aren’t given out by an angry sentient computer, we’re okay with that.
Source: Ars Technica