The world has to be ready to witness faster-flying drones, says a team of researchers at MIT after they devised an algorithm that helps drones find the fastest route around obstacles without crashing. It combines the simulations of drones flying in a virtual space and the data from examinations of a real drone flying through the same course in a real space.
The new algorithm trains the drone to fly through obstacles at a speed of 20 percent faster than the conventional one.
“At high speeds, there is intricate aerodynamics that is hard to simulate, so we use experiments in the real world to fill in those black holes to find, for instance, that it might be better to slow down first to be faster later,” says Ezra Tal, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “It’s this holistic approach we use to see how we can make a trajectory overall as fast as possible.”
The team at MIT is set to plan new experiments to further improve their algorithm.
If a human pilot is slowing down or picking up speed, that could inform what our algorithm does,” Tal says. “We can also use the trajectory of the human pilot as a starting point, and improve from that, to see, what is something humans don’t do, that our algorithm can figure out, to fly faster. Those are some future ideas we’re thinking about.”