MIT Students Develop Self-Guided Flying Robot Bird

August 10, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Unmanned aircraft are not a novelty anymore. They are the major toys with many military organizations worldwide. Unmanned aircraft or drones are often used by military for areal connivance and for remotely guided attacks.

However, these beefy machines work with the help of a lot of complex technologies which make their development and operation costly and difficult, not to mention the occasional mishaps they cause.

However, students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new smaller robot bird which can travel in tight spaces without hanging itself up on obstacles.

With this flagship feature, it can be used for a variety of purposes including collecting information from thickly populated urban conflict zones where low-level flying is impossible for usual drones.

Moreover, unlike the current drones, it does not use Global Positioning System (GPS). The robotic airplane designed by the students of the Robust Robotics program at MIT, in their jargon, demonstrates “autonomous plane navigation in confined spaces”.

According to the students who have developed the plane, they made the plane to accomplish avoiding obstacles in tight or confined flying spaces by telling the plane its exact position with the help of laser range finders and other sensors fitted on the metal bird.

The plane is powered by an Intel Atom processor and has showed off its abilities to maneuver around obstacles by flying at the garage at MIT’s Stata Centre without hitting anything.

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