Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle are trendy. It does not only help in disaster management and traffic controlling but in national defence and security. These small-looking autonomous flying objects are hard to manufacture. They are very expensive, agile and lack of functions sometimes. For example, in a disaster area, a drone can fly taking 100 pounds of weight. But cannot walk through the thin passages and pathways due to their designs. Here, they have a drawback of going to the most remote areas of any geographical location. Also, if they travel far, they have battery backup problem. So, MIT is up with new kind of Drones.

Drawbacks of Conventional Drones which gave rise to development of this Advanced Drone in MIT

Most of the drones cannot aloft for more than a day, their battery drains and it needs to recharge itself to travel more. Not only that, some drones fail to communicate if they move in far longitude and altitude. This is because their wireless transmitter might not respond due to the noise and unable to catch the authorised network.

What if a drone can do everything and break all the barriers at the same time. The UAV can switch between both driving and flying based on the geographical area. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab has developed a single drone that can both drive and fly. It’s a prototype of how an urban transit might work one day. The way the technology has been evolving, artificial intelligence and machine learning will also be a part of transportation one day. How seamless it would be if a flying car could switch between airways and roadways depending on how the opaque an individual medium is.

Flying and Driving Drones by MIT

Drones that drive

Being able to both walk and fly is distinctive. Many animals, birds and insects can walk and fly. The idea here is to program the machines with the help of robotics and artificial intelligence in a particular way that the device can choose where to fly or walk. If this is possible, it can open the doors of infinite possibilities. The researchers at MIT have made a quadcopter drone that can fly and drive in the crowded city which has no-fly zones, parking areas, traffic signals, etc.

Also Read: Baidu open-sourced Autonomous Driving Project 

Source: WiredBrandon Araki, who is a lead author of the paper and PhD student at MIT said that the ability to fly and drive would be beneficial as you can fly over ground obstacles and drive under the overhead barriers. He also added that most of the drones cannot do ground coverage at all. So a drone with the driving ability is way more mobile.

Flying and Driving Drones by MIT
Source: inverse

Features of this Advanced Drone

The idea began by developing enormous algorithm to make sure that drones don’t collide or crash. To have the ability of driving, the team place two motors beneath the drone so that it can fly for around 90 meters. Also, it can travel more than 250 meters before it gets discharged. It is confident that enabling a driving component would naturally decrease the flying efficiency of drone. So maximum distance it could fly is reduced by around 290 meters. Since it can also travel along the road but the gain of efficiency made a small loss in overall efficiency.

The team has tested the product by setting up some real-world scenarios. They used some standard materials like fabric for showing road and cardboard papers for showing buildings. They did run a test where they put eight drones in a starting point. The drones had to reach to same destination few meter away without collision. The experiment was successful and they found every machine arrive at the desired location.

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