Dallas is a hotbed of drone-related startup activity these days, with numerous drone enthusiasts and manufacturers gravitating toward the area to be involved in the community. One such company that’s stayed under the radar until recently is PercepTonic, a startup out of Plano, that is building computer vision technology for drones to enable them with more autonomy.
PercepTonic was founded by Goksel Dedeoglu, a self-proclaimed “optimization expert in computer vision” who previously spent seven years in the doctoral program at the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute and another seven with Texas Instruments’ R&D labs. His company has now posted a video demonstrating a new vision-based “sense-and-avoid technology” called GerbilBall that allows drones to monitor their position and distance relative to nearby objects using “stereo vision.”
“At PercepTonic, our startup out of Plano, we develop Computer Vision solutions that help drones (and other things) ‘see,’” the company says on its website. The technology is intriguing, even if it’s apparently unfinished (we couldn’t find any pricing details on its website). The idea is to give drones “situational awareness” in order that they can make decisions in real-time, thereby increasing drone autonomy and the safety of both users and passersby.
What’s really exciting about PercepTonic’s GerbilBall tech is that it’s relatively affordable to implement, as it relies on consumer-grade cameras and onboard processors to alert operators of any nearby obstacles in real time. GerbilBall is able to act as a kind of collision detection system for drones too, because the system prevents the drone from getting too close to nearby objects and can also prevent it from landing in dangerous or unsuitable terrain, as the video demonstrates:
It’s not clear when PercepTonic’s technology will go to market, but enthusiasts can learn more about the system from the man himself. Goksel is scheduled to make appearances at the Texas UAS Summit in Austin on March 29; Computer Visionaries in Dallas on April 4; and the SPAR 3D Expo & Conference in Houston on April 11 (no joke!).