MIT SkyCall Drone Plays Flying Guide Around the Campus [Video]

September 30, 2013, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have built a personal tour device to guide people around the institute campus. Basically a drone, the new device called Skycall flies a few feet distance above ground, and helps students to find their way on campus.

The robot uses GPS for navigation and is able to respond to phone calls. The system is designed by the research group Senseable City Lab , and the researchers claim this robot can be of use in rescue missions too.

The auto pilot system consists of GPS, Wi-Fi, camera and sensors to fly autonomously and find locations. The students and visitors can summon the navigation device through a Skycall app on their smart phone.


The GPS co-ordinates of the caller are instantly transmitted to the device. The Wi-Fi system in the quadcopter connects the user and the drone. The user has to enter the simple alphanumeric code corresponding to his destination, and after that the drone will guide him to the required destination. The drone travels at walking speed enabling the user to follow it with ease.

Sonar sensors are used in the drone to avoid collision against walls and obstacles. This device can be used to guide people in complex urban environments also. The developers are now looking to make improvements to use the device so that it can be used outside the MIT campus too.

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