Those crazy kids in MIT’s Robust Robotics program have really done something. They designed a robotic airplane that can maneuver in tight spaces, avoiding obstacles, without using a GPS. To accomplish this feat of “autonomous plane navigation in confined spaces,” the team came up with a system to tell the plane where it is in real time using a laser range-finder and on-board sensors. The plane, run by an Intel(s intc) Atom processor, manages to maneuver in the low-ceiling, multi-pillared garage at MIT’s Stata Center without a scratch.
Real-world applications could include military use — most of the drones used by the U.S. now are remotely-piloted not autonomous. Civilian applications might include aerial filming for land surveys, environmental monitoring and meteorological data collection.
Update: (More on the flying robot from MIT News here.)
Check out the cool video.
Video courtesy of MIT’s news office.