Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) are working on drones that can both fly and drive while navigating a city-like area. Think of it as a mini test bed for flying cars that will one day need to deal with buildings, no-fly zones, parking and other challenges in urban environments.
Wheeled vehicles are efficient, but limited in where they can go. Flying vehicles are nimble, but eat up fuel. If you can combine the two, you can get the best of both worlds. “The ability to both fly and drive is useful in environments with a lot of barriers, since you can fly over ground obstacles and drive under overhead obstacles,” says MIT Ph.D. student Brandon Araki.
The MIT system uses algorithms to figure out the most efficient pathways through a cityscape. It takes advantage of the drones’ dual abilities to get them safely to their destinations. A scaled-down, real-world model puts this all to the test, and MIT released a video on Monday showing eight of its wheeled drones in action. The system can handle up to 80 drones and will keep them from running into each other.
Welcome to drone day on the Adafruit blog. Every Monday we deliver the latest news, products and more from the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), quadcopter and drone communities. Drones can be used for video & photography (dronies), civil applications, policing, farming, firefighting, military and non-military security work, such as surveillance of pipelines. Previous posts can be found via the #drone tag and our drone / UAV categories.