For the particularly cartographically challenged.
Technology is forever trying to stay one step ahead of the spatially challenged, those people who never know exactly where they are on a street grid or how to get where they're going. Have no internal compass? There are maps for that. Befuddled by maps? There are smart phones. Still don't know which way to point your Android? Now, there are drones.
Meet Skycall, an "autonomous flying quadcopter and personal tour guide" from the MITSenseable City Lab. Researchers there are trying to test the potential of drones to sense and perceive complex environments, as well as their ability to communicate about that environment with humans on the ground via, say, your cell phone. Those two capabilities will be key to the capacity of unmaned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, to do all kinds of things: identify infrastructure problems, survey storm damage, calculate the world's first indisputably accurate crowd counts(I'm just daydreaming here; you should feel free to join me in the comments section).
Here, though, Skycall is starting with something much simpler (but no less impressive): It's navigating a kid through his college campus.
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