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NovoViz – Better eyes for the drones of the future


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Données de projet

  • Numéro du projet: GRS-092/23 
  • Subside accordé: CHF 150'000 
  • Consentement: 20.02.2024 
  • Durée: 05.2024 - 11.2024 
  • Champs d'activité:  InnoBooster, seit 2018

Direction du projet

Description du projet

Drones have changed the way many people work. From farmers monitoring their crops, to engineers inspecting bridges; from environmental groups monitoring pollution, to directors creating the next blockbuster – drones are a versatile tool. How long and how far a drone can fly depends on a number of factors but, most importantly, on how much additional weight and power is assigned to the equipment it has to carry (such as cameras).
The development of SPAD (Single-Photon Avalanche Diode) cameras has opened up many new possibilities for drones. The cameras can work in extremely low-light conditions, offering images with higher clarity (even when faced with fast-moving objects). SPAD cameras also operate at very high speed, allowing drones to capture and process images in real-time. However, all these benefits come with a cost – large amounts of output data, increased power consumption, and demands on hardware.
The team at NovoViz has designed a new camera which uses SPAD technology but is designed to only send out relevant information and essential data – an event or neuromorphic camera that can operate at extremely low light levels which reduces the power consumption tenfold. This means a drone with all the benefits of a SPAD camera, but one that’s energy efficient and lighter and that can benefit from newly emerging vision algorithms.
The resulting extension in range has implications in applications such as surveillance, agriculture and infrastructure inspection, particularly when monitoring expansive landscapes or infrastructure spread out over large distances. For scientific research, environmental monitoring or wildlife tracking, the ability to cover a broad range without frequent interruptions for recharging or changing batteries is crucial when collecting comprehensive and continuous data. Of significant importance are also search and rescue operations where a longer range translates into increased likelihood of saving human lives.

Etat/résultats intermédiaires

The project timeline is built around the design and development of an improved single-photon image sensor that can be easily adopted by the industry and serve as a direct replacement for current camera solutions that exist on the market. The project will start with a period of architecture exploration to define the system requirements and implementation methods. This will be followed by a design and implementation phase where the electronic circuits and pixels are built, culminating with the project milestone of delivering the fabrication files to the foundry. Once the chips are delivered from the foundry in H1 of 2025, NovoViz will continue with the necessary system development in order to turn the device into a commercial product.

Personnes participant au projet

Andrei Ardelean e-mail at EPFL | e-mail at Novoviz | LinkedIn, Project leader, NovoViz co-founder & CTO
Andrada Muntean e-mail at EPFL | LinkedIn, Project member, NovoViz co-founder & CEO

Dernière mise à jour de cette présentation du projet  17.05.2024