If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.

Ball Hard

A team of engineers at the University of Zurich have developed tech that allows a drone to dodge obstacles, including basketballs flung at high speeds.

The researchers' obstacle avoidance system is fast enough to get out of Dodge — get it? — if an obstacle is fast approaching. According to the team, conventional avoidance systems are too slow.

Bold Strategy, Cotton

To get there, the system uses event cameras. Event cameras don't spend time looking at every pixel at any point in time, like a conventional camera.

The special sensors' individual pixels only respond when they notice any changes in light intensity. That means there's far fewer pixels to analyze in a given scene, speeding up processing considerably.


The results are certainly good enough for a 21st-century game of dodgeball.

"Our ultimate goal is to make one day autonomous drones navigate as good [sic] as human drone pilots," lead author Davide Falanga told New Atlas.

"If we could have autonomous drones navigate as reliable as human pilots we would then be able to use them for [search and rescue] missions that fall beyond line of sight or beyond the reach of the remote control," Falanga added.

READ MORE: Drone plays dodgeball to demo fast new obstacle detection system [New Atlas]

More on drones: Spanish Police Using Drones to Yell at People Breaking Quarantine

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