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October 22, 2013

Researchers at the SENSEable City Lab wanted to test SkyCall, their autonomous flying quadcopter and personal tour guide. So they asked a Yale student to pretend to be a clueless Harvard student who needed to get from Killian Court to their lab. Using the SkyCall app on his phone, the student summoned the flying robot. “Welcome to MIT,” it said upon arriving. “Where would you like to go?” The student typed 9-209 into his phone, and SkyCall guided him there, pointing out places of interest along the way. The system uses onboard autopilot and GPS navigation systems with sonar sensors and Wi-Fi; its camera relays images to a base location and can be manually controlled by the user as well. Watch a demo at senseable.mit.edu/skycall.

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