Dr. Mozhdeh Shahbazi wants to make it easier for drones to fly — even in areas where GPS isn’t reliable — places like street canyons, indoors, and even forests.
Shahbazi received her BSc degree in civil/surveying engineering in 2009, her MSc degree in geomatics/photogrammetry engineering in 2011, and then moved on to doing PhD research focused on the development of drones for 3D modeling at the Université de Sherbrooke in Canada. She is currently an assistant professor of geomatics engineering at the University of Calgary in Canada.
Drone Girl: You’ve done incredible work based on enabling drones to know their environment without the use of GPS. What does that entail?
Dr. Mozhdeh Shahbazi: I’m working on different types of sensors for autonomous navigation – those based on vision and those not based on vision. The ones not based on vision I cannot discuss because they are confidential! But the parts based on vision are more exciting.
They include laser scanning, which is a type of active sensing. Measurements are done from a type of instrument which sends laser beams to objects and calculates its range from them.
Then there are visual sensors. Cameras don’t measure depth, so what I’m working on is multi-view stereo. In the case of a drone, we set cameras on all sides so we have a 360-degree cover. It’s important to shoot the front, back, side and ground. And because of bird attacks and to be aware of other aircrafts, it’s important to have a view pointing up too!
DG: Bird attacks?! Is that an issue? Continue reading Dr. Mozhdeh Shahbazi is helping drones fly without GPS