ASU professor develops technology for self-flying quadcopter

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Europe based Airbus is developing a navigation system. (Source: Airbus) Europe based Airbus is developing a navigation system. (Source: Airbus)
Daniel Bliss explains his navigational system to reporter Lindsey Rieser. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Daniel Bliss explains his navigational system to reporter Lindsey Rieser. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)

Hopping on an unmanned quadcopter to get to work may seem like a futuristic idea. But it's not that far-fetched, and one Arizona State University professor is helping it take off.

"It is very George Jetson-like, and that's very exciting," said Daniel Bliss, director of The Center for Wireless Information Systems and Computational Architecture at ASU. "You're going to see this in the next couple of years. There are small companies who are really intent upon flying humans around."

Dr. Bliss' mission is to develop a navigation system for Europe-based Airbus.

"[Make sure] they land where they're supposed to land, they fly the path they're supposed to follow, and they don't bump into each other along the way," he said.  He added that his technology could be used on autonomous cars, too.

"In some ways, air vehicles are easier because once you're in the air there's not too much to bump into," Bliss said. "The problem is when you make a mistake, it's much more dramatic." 

Airbus wants to see his technology on their quad-copters by the end of the calendar year. 

"We're exploiting something called distributive coherence, which is a technology even engineers think is impossible, yet that what we're doing," Bliss said. "I think you'll see the beginnings of it in a couple of years but it'll take 10 years for it to become a significant mode of transportation."

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Lindsey ReiserLindsey Reiser is a Scottsdale native and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

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Lindsey Reiser

Lindsey returned to the Valley in 2010 after covering border and immigration issues in El Paso, TX. While in El Paso she investigated public corruption, uncovered poor business practices, and routinely reported on the violence across the border.

Lindsey feels honored to have several awards under her belt, including a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award, Hearst Journalist Award, and several National Broadcast Education Association Awards.

Lindsey is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and she currently serves as a mentor to journalism students. She studied for a semester in Alicante, Spain and also earned a degree in Spanish at ASU.

She is proud to serve as a member of United Blood Services’ Community Leadership Council, a volunteer advisory board for the UBS of Arizona.

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