Autonomous Flying Vehicles

Posted on October 11, 2006  Comments (6)

Photo of Flying Robots

MIT’s intelligent aircraft fly, cooperate autonomously

Each UAV is networked with a PC. The setup allows a single operator to command the entire system, flying multiple UAVs simultaneously. Moreover, it requires no piloting skills; software flies the vehicles from takeoff to landing.

The vehicles in MIT’s test platform are inexpensive, off-the-shelf gadgets; they can be easily repaired or replaced with a new vehicle, just as might happen in a real-world scenario involving numerous small UAVs on a long-term mission. The researchers can thus experiment constantly without concern for mishaps with expensive equipment.

In addition, the team recently achieved a milestone in autonomous flight: landing on a moving surface. Using “monocular vision,” one of the quadrotors successfully landed on a moving vehicle — a remote-controlled lab cart. A video camera fastened to the UAV uses a visual “target” to determine in real time the vehicle’s distance relative to the landing platform. The ground station then uses this information to compute commands that allow the UAV to land on the moving platform. This technology could enable UAVs to land on ships at sea or on Humvees moving across terrain.

More cool stuff: La Vida RobotAutonomous Vehicle Technology CompetitionRobot Football (Soccer)More Unmanned Water Vehicles

6 Responses to “Autonomous Flying Vehicles”

  1. The sub-$1,000 UAV Project
    March 24th, 2007 @ 10:48 am

    “This summer my project will be to come up with a set of resources and instructions that will allow regular non-engineer people (and kids) to put together a drone for less than $1,000…”

  2. CuriousCat: AlienFly RC Mosquito Helicopter
    August 5th, 2007 @ 7:43 pm

    Fun looking toy: AlienFly RC Mosquito Helicopter. I don’t have one but the Amazon reviews are positive…

  3. CuriousCat: 6 Inch Bat Plane
    March 23rd, 2008 @ 2:14 pm

    “A six-inch robotic spy plane modeled after a bat would gather data from sights, sounds and smells in urban combat zones and transmit information back to a soldier in real time…”

  4. Anonymous
    August 25th, 2008 @ 2:34 pm

    For a soldier to be able to get information from a 6″ robotic spy plane with data in real time would be great. It would also be fantastic if we had a real time robotic spy 6″ fly plan that a soldier could fly and maneuver that could carry a bomb or some type of weapon and we had the ability to land, or fire on where we wanted it.

  5. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Autonomous Helicopters Teach Themselves to Fly
    August 31st, 2008 @ 2:40 pm

    “Stanford computer scientists have developed an artificial intelligence system that enables robotic helicopters to teach themselves to fly difficult stunts by watching other helicopters perform the same maneuvers…”

  6. CuriousCat: Jetson Jetplane
    September 7th, 2008 @ 7:27 pm

    The flight is controlled by body movements (not controls, other than the gas)…

Leave a Reply