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Minihelicopter flies autonomously

December 23, 2011 | Hogan Keyser
December 20, 2011 via -- Siemens and MIT have developed the quadrocopter, a miniturized helicopter that can inspect inaccessible installations and create 3-D digital models of complex interiors, Siemens Pictures of the Future reports.

It uses lasers to scan its surroundings, video cameras for recording, and AI algorithms for image recognition.

Basically a square wire frame, it is driven by a tiny engine block with four helicopter rotors on top. The vehicle is called a quadcopter. Using lasers, it scans windows, walls, and machines; optical sensors and video cameras register every architectural detail.

It maneuvers through the air on pre-planned paths, ready to sense and avoid obstacles that may appear in its path. The data it collects is processed to create precise 3D models of the environment.

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