Friday, March 31, 2017

2017-03-29: Autonomy Incubator Hosts Chief Technology Council and Ft. Eustis Commander of 1st Fighter Wing

Dr. Loc Tran demonstrates object classification on the crowd.

This was a big week of demonstrations at the Ai, with two groups of brilliant minds coming through to learn about our autonomy research. Tuesday brought a crowd of officials from NASA's Chief Technology Council (CTC) and Chief Technology Office (CTO), while Wednesday, we demonstrated for Army Colonel Pete Fesler, Commander of the 1st Fighter Wing (ACC) Joint Base Langley-Eustis.

Ai head Dr. Danette Allen addresses the CTO delegation.
Danette explains our motion capture system to Col. Fesner.
We pulled out all of our greatest hits for this round of demos. First, we warmed up with Dances with Drones (DWD), starring Ben Kelley.

DWD is always a crowd-pleaser. After Ben finished demonstrating the real-time path replanning algorithm, Col. Fesner exclaimed, "I didn't know we could do that!"

Next, Dr. Loc Tran gave an overview of our computer vision work. He combined the 3DEEGAN convolutional neural network and the work he's doing with MIT into one demonstration of object recognition and classification.

Finally, we showed our guests a scaled-down section of our payload delivery mission from last summer: one of our large quadrotors took off, autonomously navigated to the ozone sensor site, and then used a downward-facing camera with a natural feature tracker algorithm to locate and collect the sensor. Here's the video of the whole mission if you want to see one of our moments of glory.

We were thrilled and honored to share our mission with so many visitors this week. Congrats to the whole team on a flawless pair of demos!

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