Kinect makes UAV even more autonomous

A group of MIT students have used a Microsoft Kinect sensor-package to enable a UAV to map and fly circuits around a room:

Students have developed a real-time visual odometry system that can use a Kinect to provide fast and accurate estimates of a vehicle's 3D trajectory. This system is based on recent advances in visual odometry research, and combines a number of ideas from the state-of-the-art algorithms. It aligns successive camera frames by matching features across images, and uses the Kinect-derived depth estimates to determine the camera's motion.
MIT SLAM quad using Kinect (Thanks, Mark!)