One-eyed robot learns to see in weightlessness

Stereo camera on one of the Spheres – Synchronized Position Hold Engage and Reorient Experimental Satellite – drones resident in the Space Station. This is the imaging-focused ‘Vertigo’ drone: Visual Estimation for Relative Tracking and Inspection of Generic Objects. Credit: NASA A small drone taught itself to judge distances using only one eye during trials aboard the International Space Station, ESA-backed researchers have reported. Although humans can effortlessly estimate distances with a single eye, robots still lack this capability. “It is a mathematical impossibility to extract distances to objects from one single image, if the object has not been encountered before,” explains Guido de Croon from Delft University of Technology, one of the investigators. “But if we recognise something to be a car, then we know its physical characteristics, and we…

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