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Drones With Face Detection Cameras Obey Visual and Vocal Commands

Researchers from British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University recently unveiled a new fleet of drones capable of obeying vocal and visual commands.

The project, which was presented during the annual IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) earlier this month in Japan, revealed the ability of multiple drones to obey group commands through the use of face detection cameras and voice command recognition.

Using a facial scoring system, each drone’s camera determines which direction a user is focused towards. Once the drone with the highest “face score” has been targeted, small color-changing LEDs provide confirmation to the user.

Simple commands such as “take off” allows for complete handsfree control, while commands such as “you two” or “you three” allows multiple drones to obey the same order simultaneously.


Through the use of Vision-Mediated Gestural Interface, the drones also have the ability to be controlled silently by simple hand motions. Once a drone recognizes it has been visually targeted, a user can gain control through a right-hand wave, while a left-hand wave removes it.

In a separate demonstration, a user gains control of multiple drones and uses a dual-hand wave to command the drone fleet to carry out a predetermined mission.

While the team is still perfecting the drone camera’s user detection success rate, plans to implement advanced command capabilities are already in the works.

“In future work we will demonstrate the practicality of our methods on working outdoor robot systems including heterogeneous teams of robots,” the team’s research paper states. “We will extend this work to designate teams of robot by name, so we can say ‘You three are Red Team’, ‘You three join Blue Team’, and ‘You switch to Green Team’.”

While the technology alone is inherently harmless, the increased use of government surveillance drones inside the United States has few citizens cheering their continued roll out.

Although retracting his comments after public outcry, Attorney General Eric Holder’s initial belief of being constitutionally authorized in carrying out drone assassinations against Americans on US soil has only attributed to the public’s distrust of domestic drone use.

A recent photograph of an unmarked helicopter drone exclusively obtained by Infowars also revealed a glimpse into the near future of drone technology. Other recent advances have produced drones with the ability to grab stationary objects in-flight using a mechanical claw, much like a taloned bird grabbing prey. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are currently advancing the “avian-inspired” drone’s capabilities in hopes to be able to literally snatch humans off the street.

As technology extends its lightning growth towards autonomous robotics, world famous thinkers have begun to take notice, prompting the likes of physicist Stephen Hawking to warn of its dangerous and uncontrolled march, as the walls of technocracy grow exponentially higher.

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About Mikael Thalen

Mikael Thalen is an investigative journalist covering foreign policy, information security and digital surveillance. His reports have been cited by sites such as the New York Times, Computerworld, International Business Times and the Drudge Report. How to contact Mikael securely:

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  1. November 8th, 2013 Los Angeles Times report: FAA issues plan for domestic drone use

  2. This is the link to use. My apologies!

  3. I for one would like to welcome the hand maidens of our new computer overlords….

  4. The author should have noted that this technology can be added to any drone. The Parrot AR2 drones like those used in this testing do not retail with this technology installed.

  5. Interesting how far these drones have been developed already, I hope they will also be used for improving peoples live and not only for military purposes.

  6. That is really very dangerous.

  7. I am afraid that it would be very harmful in future

  8. I am sure one drone will be the most lethal weapon of a country for other countries

  9. Interesting how far these drones have been developed already, I hope they will also be used for improving peoples live and not only for military purposes.

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  11. just as the founding fathers laid out.

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  14. I have very mixed feelings about this. Could be pretty scary if it were in the wrong hands!

  15. Wow, future is already here!

  16. Wow, the technology is getting a bit scary. It's amazing to see how many individuals now have drones and what they can do with them. Interesting future it will be…

  17. And spy on private citizens.

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    i think in the future there will be more robots than human

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