MIT researchers have completed a series of flight tests in which an autonomous robotic plane running its way among pillars in the parking garage under MIT‘s Stata Center.
This autonomous plane designed by MIT’s Robust Robotics Group, by using state-estimation algorithm, is able to prevent obstacles with ease, even at high speeds.
“The reason that we switched from the helicopter to the fixed-wing vehicle is that the fixed-wing vehicle is a more complicated and interesting problem, but also that it has a much longer flight time,” says Nick Roy, an associate professor of aeronautics and head of the Robust Robotics Group. “The helicopter is working very hard just to keep itself in the air, and we wanted to be able to fly longer distances for longer periods of time.”
With the plane, the problem is more complicated because “it’s going much faster, and it can’t do arbitrary motions,” Roy says. “They can’t go sideways, they can’t hover, they have a stall speed.”