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At TechCrunch Disrupt: Astral AR Developing Drones You Control With Your Mind

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【Summary】Drones were on display at this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt 2017 in San Francisco. One company, Astral AR is working on drones that can be controlled with the mind.

Original Eric Walz    Sep 19, 2017 1:25 PM PT
At TechCrunch Disrupt: Astral AR Developing Drones You Control With Your Mind
author: Eric Walz   

SAN FRANCISCO -- Drones have been a hot topic in the tech industry lately, and some were on display at this year's TechCrunch Disrupt 2017 in San Francisco. One company, Astral AR is working on drones that can be controlled with the mind. 

Imagine thinking about making a left turn and having a drone complete the maneuver. It sounds like science fiction. At the event, Futurecar spoke with the CEO and co-founder Leah LeSalla to learn more about the company.

La Salla's startup, Astral AR, is developing drones that can be controlled with the mind using a AR headset, with a focus on drones-for-good activities, such as disaster rescue and law enforcement. Her company holds patents on a variety of drone technologies with the hope of advancing the lifesaving capabilities of agencies and teams responding to emergencies, such as police and fire departments.

By combining AI with facial recognition, anomaly detection, sensors and object detection, Astral AR can provide an educated prediction on situations a pilot is encountering. For example, a police officer piloting a drone over a crowd is able to better detect concealed weapons, identify the type of weapons, identify who the person(s) are with the said concealed weapons and thus improve their situational awareness in real time and from a safe remote location. 

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Astral AR's Drone, with the Movidius Neural Compute Stick

The company's artificial intelligence (AI) is capable of running standalone on each drone without the need of connectivity to a central server. It powers and touches all aspects of the drone platform. Capable of improving and assisting the pilot, the AI is a perfect partner to help get the task done safer and more efficiently. The AI comes from the Movidius Neural Compute Stick and Nvidia's Jetson TX2 module on-board the drone. 

The company's drones are equipped with a variety of sensors available to collect hyperspectral data. The drone's hardware is able to integrate to sensors, such as FLIR, high definition cameras, Lidar, infrared and others on the drone. This wide sensor integration capability provides flexibility to drones to take on multiple roles. For example, a robotic arm and camera integrations gives a firefighter the ability to move some debris in a burning building with the drone. 

The company's mission save lives using drones, by reducing risks associated with normal tasks as well as extraordinary ones. Thier proprietary technology and drone piloting system exponentially aid humanitarian endeavors with safety & speed.

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