Intel RealSense obstacle avoidance on the Yuneec H
If you're reading this article, you're probably familiar with the Yuneec Typhoon H and what it has to offer in terms of technology.
If you're looking for a more in depth review, check out my comparison with the Phantom 4 from DJI.
There are a few good selling points for the drone that make it better than the DJI device:
- the 360 camera rotation – that can enable you to take shots even in the back of the drone
- the retractable landing gear – which helps a lot with not getting the legs in a shot
- high positioned props – again, will not appear in the frame when flying forward at high speeds
- unified controller – no need for an additional tablet or phone
But the most prominent feature advertised by Yuneec, and the one that people make the most fuss about is the Intel RealSense technology.
In case you haven't yet seen the popular video presentation that shows the drone avoiding falling trees, you have to watch it:
With my limited technical knowledge, I have concluded that the Intel Realsense can be pretty much compared with the Xbox kinect, both in form and function.
No, really, they look much alike.
This is still developing technology, and don't forget that it's not only used for the Yuneec drones, but also for other applications like gaming, Virtual Reality, facial expression tracking and other.
The 3d depth tracking makes for a very useful addition to something like a drone that, you know, constantly flies in 3d space…
Therefore the two technologies should make for an awesome couple indeed.
Here's a very interesting live proof of the 3d obstacle avoidance tech
But, does the Yuneec with Realsense actually avoid obstacles?
While the software for it is still developing, the feature is there and fully working.
The main thing the realsense module does is to detect objects(trees, poles) in real time and make a 3d map of them so they can be safely avoided while continuing the flight.
It can also work like a standard sonar ( which the Typhoon also has one of) and stop when encountering an object.
But this is no fun, and that's pretty much what the Phantom 4 does too, so why pay more money?
It not only avoids objects, it also makes a map of them to better know how to avoid them in the future. So it's pretty much a self-learning machine… prepare for Skynet, people!
Here's a presentation video where you can see a basic use of the technology from Intel:
As you can also see in the presentation video, there are 2 flying modes in which the Realsense module is enabled:
- Angle Mode – This is the mode where the hexacopter flies a little slower that usually but can stop before hitting an object
- Smart mode – Enables the actual use of the RealSense technology and can avoid obstacles in real time
A slight disadvantage while flying in these modes is the lower flight speed, necessary for the sensors to properly detect objects and react in time ( about 11 miles an hour).
What is the perfect use for this technology?
In my opinion, the ideal way to use the RealSense is in “follow me” mode.
A nice feature of the drone is that it comes with a compact wand that can function as the following point and that you can easily carry with you.
This will enable you to do your favorite sport and move freely while having the drone follow you.
Using the Intel module in this mode will definitely make sure the drone won't hit anything while also smoothly going around objects.
Is it worth buying? Is the RealSense technology better than P4's?
When comparing the Phantom 4 detection technology with Yuneec's you must also have the price point in sight:
You'll have to pay up to $400 more for a Typhoon that has the Realsense technology compared to one that only has sonar.
Keep in mind that Yuneec will start selling the Intel Module separately soon enough, so you could just buy the basic version for now, and add the module later.
How much does Yuneec Typhoon H and Realsense cost?
It's relatively cheap , considering what you get in the package. The prices always change so I'll ask you to check the link bellow for more accurate information. The best way to buy it would be locally or from Amazon, so you have a reliable return policy and a well delivered product.