Autonomous robotic plane flies indoors at MIT

For decades, academic and industry researchers have been working on control algorithms for autonomous helicopters — robotic helicopters that pilot themselves, rather than requiring remote human guidance. Dozens of research teams have competed in a series of autonomous-helicopter challenges posed by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI); progress has been so rapid that the last two challenges have involved indoor navigation without the use of GPS.

But MIT’s Robust Robotics Group — which fielded the team that won the last AUVSI contest — has set itself an even tougher challenge: developing autonomous-control algorithms for the indoor flight of GPS-denied airplanes. At the 2011 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), a team of researchers from the group described an algorithm for calculating a plane’s trajectory; in 2012, at the same conference, they presented an algorithm for determining its “state” — its location, physical orientation, velocity and acceleration. Now, the MIT researchers have completed a series of flight tests in which an autonomous robotic plane running their state-estimation algorithm successfully threaded its way among pillars in the parking garage under MIT’s Stata Center.

Read more:

Video: Melanie Gonick, MIT News

Additional footage courtesy of: Adam Bry, Nicholas Roy, Abraham Bachrach of the Robust Robotics Group, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Special thanks to the Office of Naval Research under MURI N00014-09-1-1052 and the Army Research Office under the Micro Autonomous System Technologies program.

Duration : 0:2:48

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Technorati Tags: Air, Airplane, Flying, mit, MITNewsOffice, Plane, Robotics (Invention)

25 thoughts on “Autonomous robotic plane flies indoors at MIT

  1. It is my dream that …
    It is my dream that some day when the technology is there, man might merge with machine as a self-controlled evolutionary step. It’s already happening in small ways with google glasses, myoelectric prosthetics, pace makers, etc. I think we’re biologically limited but once we learn to expand those? limitations, we expand the available knowledge and objectives of the human race. Basically, I think we will find things to do if we take this step, otherwise we will get fat like in wall-e.

  2. In the future there …
    In the future there will only be two workers, a human and a dog. The human’s job will be feeding the dog. The dog’s job will be making sure the human doesn’t touch the computers.?

  3. Awesome work!
    Is …

    Awesome work!
    Is it a custom onboard camera? you used, it looks quite good namely + it has to be lightweigt? Right?

  4. Great work – always …
    Great work – always felt like planes should be preferred? over quadcopters where possible due to their cost.

  5. Massive props. …
    Massive props. Wonderful research model, and awesome execution. And the video very professionally? presents the results. Nice package. Sharing this.

  6. these guys are …
    these guys are insane but the only problem i see with this is we? are getting one step closer to skynet

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