UM Today UM Today University of Manitoba UM Today UM Today UM Today

Metro: Autonomous drone brain being tested at University of Manitoba

August 18, 2016 — 

As Metro news reports:

Here’s something that might be over your head: near-sentient drones shipping critical goods to remote Northern communities.

University of Manitoba professor Witold Kinsner said it’s not only possible, but may be necessary, which is why he and a visiting intern from China are currently working on bringing the advanced auto-pilot necessary for the task to life.

“Specifically in Manitoba, our roads are melting, delivery will have to be provided one way or another—an airplane cannot land on a dime, so it is necessary to develop such technologies,” he said. “Amazon is working on delivering small parcels… this has to be a much, much heavier load, flying much longer distances.”

Think of a big drone carrying crates with the components needed for a make-shift hospital shelter, tthat has to be airborne for days on end.

The weighty load and long flight time pose several practical and engineering problems: the drone cannot rely on user input or GPS signals, which are spotty in the north, and the autopilot has to be extremely precise to avoid wasting energy and cutting a flight short.

“That’s where research now kicks in,” Kinsner said.

Research at the University of Manitoba is partially supported by funding from the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.


© University of Manitoba • Winnipeg, Manitoba • Canada • R3T 2N2

Emergency: 204-474-9341