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. Read more: Video: Melanie Gonick, MIT News Additional footage courtesy of: Adam Bry, Nicholas Roy, Abraham Bachrach of the Robust Robotics Group, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Department of

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24 Responses to Autonomous robotic plane flies indoors at MIT

  1. Vader DARth says:

    So, how it land on the floor?

  2. Andre Marasca says:

    O maximo que eu fiz foi programar um lego mindstorms pra desviar de obstaculos….

  3. Daryll Vaughn Calpito says:

    quick, before Skynet arises…

  4. lolealajaggress says:

    So very cool!

  5. Lexoka says:

    Given how thin the Martian atmosphere is, that might be tricky.

  6. Fernando lopez soria says:

    i tho first that it was controled but its not which is something epic :D

  7. cjcrcsmn says:

    Does anyone know what stall speed they have?

  8. MrJohann64 says:

    well done!

  9. Alperen Genc says:

    all cool things come from MIT

  10. TheSongsSmile says:

    when is Google going to use theses to do street maps fly by’s? 2013?

  11. tapiwa112 says:

    I think the camera is just for observation, the range finder and the inertial measurement unit are gathering all the data

  12. felarfurlong says:

    well done. too bad for humanity, John Connor isn’t born yet.

  13. GeekeaTV says:

    …and then SkyNet ! hehe… great !

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  15. sharpeyekool says:

    Awesumm….how do you combine camera info with the laser unit to know about its localization wrt to the environment???? 

  16. BIGPEN1065 says:

    abbo me new trickshot channel 

  17. RoRKART35 says:

    The parking garage flights are mindblowing… i’d love to see the source code on that.

  18. smile19950207 says:

    i want one:’

  19. NightmoonfirePWN says:


  20. pinkfloyd111 says:

    what else to expect from MIT :)

  21. moci10 says:

    nice innovation to prevent terrorists from attacking other tall buildings with airplanes

  22. 耀中 許 says:


  23. Atul de Souza says:

    awesome – this is mind boggling …… this is the future of autopilot on commercial aircraft

  24. GettingOlderAndWiser says:

    Truly amazing, a really impressive achievement. Thanks for sharing this video.

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