poptech:

Autonomous robotic plane flies indoors at MIT

For decades, academic and industry researchers have been working on control algorithms for autonomous helicopters — robotic helicopters that pilot themselves, rather than requiring remote human guidance. Dozens of research teams have competed in a series of autonomous-helicopter challenges posed by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI); progress has been so rapid that the last two challenges have involved indoor navigation without the use of GPS.

But MIT’s Robust Robotics Group — which fielded the team that won the last AUVSI contest — has set itself an even tougher challenge: developing autonomous-control algorithms for the indoor flight of GPS-denied airplanes. At the 2011 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), a team of researchers from the group described an algorithm for calculating a plane’s trajectory; in 2012, at the same conference, they presented an algorithm for determining its “state” — its location, physical orientation, velocity and acceleration. Now, the MIT researchers have completed a series of flight tests in which an autonomous robotic plane running their state-estimation algorithm successfully threaded its way among pillars in the parking garage under MIT’s Stata Center.

Navy’s new ‘UFO’ completes first phase of testing.The X-47B unmanned fighter jet caused a stir as it was being transported to Maryland, with locals thinking they’d seen a UFO. In fact, the new jet is undergoing trials in an effort to become the first unmanned vehicle to complete a takeoff and landing from an aircraft carrier - all completely autonomously.
The first round of testing saw the jet climbing to 15,000 feet, before returning for multiple maneuvers including extending a tail hook on landing, which will be used to stop on the aircraft carrier. After a second phase of testing in Maryland, the Navy hopes to have it operating on an aircraft carrier in 2013. Because the takeoff and landings will all be completely controlled by the computers in the aircraft, the Navy will only have to focus on plotting out preprogrammed missions for the jet.
It’s also planned to begin testing of airbourne refuelling of the jet sometime in 2014.

Navy’s new ‘UFO’ completes first phase of testing.
The X-47B unmanned fighter jet caused a stir as it was being transported to Maryland, with locals thinking they’d seen a UFO. In fact, the new jet is undergoing trials in an effort to become the first unmanned vehicle to complete a takeoff and landing from an aircraft carrier - all completely autonomously.

The first round of testing saw the jet climbing to 15,000 feet, before returning for multiple maneuvers including extending a tail hook on landing, which will be used to stop on the aircraft carrier. After a second phase of testing in Maryland, the Navy hopes to have it operating on an aircraft carrier in 2013. Because the takeoff and landings will all be completely controlled by the computers in the aircraft, the Navy will only have to focus on plotting out preprogrammed missions for the jet.

It’s also planned to begin testing of airbourne refuelling of the jet sometime in 2014.

(via 8bitfuture)

Researchers develop flying WiFi robots for disaster relief
Researchers at Germany’s Ilmenau University of Technology are developing flying quadcopter robots that can be used to form a self-assembling ad-hoc wireless network in the event of disaster. Built with off-the-shelf parts (including VIA’s Pico-ITX hardware and a GPS unit) the robots are designed to provide both mobile phone and WiFi access — and they can do it far more quickly than a technician on the ground might be able to.

Researchers develop flying WiFi robots for disaster relief

Researchers at Germany’s Ilmenau University of Technology are developing flying quadcopter robots that can be used to form a self-assembling ad-hoc wireless network in the event of disaster. Built with off-the-shelf parts (including VIA’s Pico-ITX hardware and a GPS unit) the robots are designed to provide both mobile phone and WiFi access — and they can do it far more quickly than a technician on the ground might be able to.