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Autonomous drone plays with kids in Dutch hospital

Drone uses Visible Light Communication (VLC) to navigate indoors

Philips Lighting, which has been making moves in the IoT space by leveraging its connected lighting platforms, is working with drone manufacturer Blue Jay to develop new uses for drones, as well as a lighting-based navigation system that lets the drone move around autonomously.

Building on the Drone Cafe, wherein drones serving items to patrons, Blue Jay and Philips are now using the drone to assist and entertain children at the Maxima Medical Center in Netherlands. The drone can play tic-tac-toe by responding to hand gestures, and pick up or deliver objects for people with diminished mobility.

So how does lighting fit in? The drone uses what’s called Visible Light Communication to find its own location and navigate indoors. According to Philips, ” This technology enables ceiling lights to act like an indoor GPS and transmit their location through a modulation of the light which is imperceptible to the human eye, but detectable by smart devices such as drones. The wireless operation between the drone and its ground station is made possible by communication technology from NXP.”

Earlier this month, Philips Lighting announced that it will develop a smart lighting project in 11 municipalities in southern Rogaland in Western Norway. Under the agreement, the Dutch company will deploy more than 18,000 connected LED street lights, which will be controlled remotely using the Philips CityTouch lighting management system.

Philips Lighting reps said the combination of LED luminaires and remote monitoring and control will transform the management of lighting across the municipalities, enabling energy and operational cost savings.

The company is working with Chinese ICT giant Huawei to ensure the interoperability of the Philips Hue connected lighting system for the home with Huawei’s OceanConnect Internet of Things (IoT) platform. Under the terms of the deal, the Chinese vendor will become a ‘Friends of Hue’ partner and Philips Lighting a Huawei OceanConnect partner.



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