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Anqi Xu's doctoral research on vision-based robot featured in IEEE Spectrum

Robotic aircrafts have taken to the skies, finding increasing use in military applications, law enforcement, environmental monitoring, and also becoming popular among hobbyists who want to build their own drones.These unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, have varied degrees of autonomy, though typically they depend on GPS and also on supervision from a human operator, who can send commands to the aircraft and receive images from its on-board cameras.

Now researchers at McGill University's Mobile Robotics Lab, in Montreal, Canada, are making these smart aircraft a bit smarter. Anqi Xu, a PhD student, and his advisor, Professor Gregory Dudek, director of the Mobile Robotics Lab, developed a UAV control system that uses aerial images to identify visual cues on the landscape and steer the aircraft autonomously. They say that their current system is capable of following a coastline or a road surrounded by forests.

Check out the feature in IEEE Spectrum here. IEEE Spectrum is the flagship publication of the IEEE, the world's largest professional technology association. IEEE Spectrum is read by over 385,000 technology professionals and senior executives worldwide in the high technology sectors of industry, government, and academia.