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New algorithm flies drones faster than human racing pilots

Robohub

To be useful, drones need to be quick. Because of their limited battery life they must complete whatever task they have – searching for survivors on a disaster site, inspecting a building, delivering cargo – in the shortest possible time. And they may have to do it by going through a series of waypoints like windows, rooms, or specific locations to inspect, adopting the best trajectory and the right acceleration or deceleration at each segment. The best human drone pilots are very good at doing this and have so far always outperformed autonomous systems in drone racing. Now, a research group at the University of Zurich (UZH) has created an algorithm that can find the quickest trajectory to guide a quadrotor – a drone with four propellers – through a series of waypoints on a circuit.


New Algorithm Flies Drones Faster than Human Racing Pilots - ELE Times

#artificialintelligence

To be useful, drones need to be quick. Because of their limited battery life, they must complete whatever task they have--searching for survivors on a disaster site, inspecting a building, delivering cargo--in the shortest possible time. And they may have to do it by going through a series of waypoints like windows, rooms, or specific locations to inspect, adopting the best trajectory and the right acceleration or deceleration at each segment. The best human drone pilots are very good at doing this and have so far always outperformed autonomous systems in drone racing. Now, a research group at the University of Zurich (UZH) has created an algorithm that can find the quickest trajectory to guide a quadrotor--a drone with four propellers--through a series of waypoints on a circuit.


JPL's AI-Powered Racing Drone Challenges Pro Human Pilot

IEEE Spectrum Robotics

As drones and their components get smaller, more efficient, and more capable, we've seen an increasing amount of research towards getting these things flying by themselves in semi-structured environments without relying on external localization. The University of Pennsylvania has done some amazing work in this area, as has DARPA's Fast Lightweight Autonomy program.


MIT's Leading the Pack With This Cool New Autonomous Drone Tech

#artificialintelligence

Any Star Wars fan knows that the chances of successfully navigating an asteroid field are approximately 3,720 to 1. The odds are probably significantly higher against today's autonomous drones, which fly quite a bit slower than sublight speed and without the mad skills of Han Solo. Researchers at MIT believe they have hit upon a solution--more than one, actually--to train drones to move quickly through a crowded, complex environment, though we're probably light years away from navigating through hostile star systems. One solution, dubbed "Flight Goggles," involves streaming a virtual reality environment to the drone as it flies through empty space. "The system is at the intersection of motion capture equipment, drone technology, and high-bandwidth communications," Sertac Karaman, associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, told Singularity Hub.


Watch Out, Pro Racers: These Drones Just Learned to Fly Solo

WIRED

These days any old schlub can pilot a drone without cratering it, what with good old autopilot tech, but there are drone pilots out there whose abilities push the limits of human cognition. Drone racing is a truly insane endeavor (now with its very own Drone Racing League!) with human pilots banking around corners and through obstacles at over 100 miles per hour, navigating it all through the craft's onboard camera. It takes an almost unimaginable amount of coordination--but, alas, even this highly skilled job is in danger of automation. Researchers have developed a system that allows drones to autonomously navigate an obstacle course of gates with 100 percent accuracy--that is, the robots don't crash into something and explode. Not only that, because of the clever way the researchers trained the drones, the machines can adapt if a wily human moves a gate mid-run, completing a course that looks different than when they started.