[news] Android version of robotic crowd sourcing app "Astro Drone" for Parrot AR drone
The Advanced Concepts Team of the European Space Agency has just released the Android version of the game called "Astro Drone". People who possess a Parrot AR drone can play the game, in which they are challenged to perform different space missions in an augmented reality. In the first level you have to dock to the International Space Station, in the second level you have to enact ESA's Rosetta mission by avoiding space debris and releasing the Philae lander.
However, the app is more than a game. Players can choose to participate in a scientific crowd-sourcing experiment that aims to improve autonomous capabilities of space probes, such as landing, obstacle avoidance, and docking. If participating, the app extracts visually salient features from the images made by the drone's camera. The features are then combined with the estimates of the drone's state (speed, height) and uploaded. The data is used in a research aiming to improve robot navigation.