An AI-controlled drone racer has beaten human pilots for the first time
New control algorithms developed at the University of Zurich have beaten experienced racing pilots for the first time – but the system has some significant limitations.
This success in this experiment comes with a price though. One is that flight planning requires more computing power than the drone’s onboard computer can supply, and it currently takes up to an hour to plan a few minutes flight. Managing flights in real time will require more efficient algorithms or better drone computers.
“We believe that online replanning can and will be possible soon,” says researcher Philipp Föhn, first author of the new paper. “There will be a tradeoff between optimality and replanning sufficient to beat human pilots.”The UZG AI racign drone tests too place in a giant motion-capture arena to track the location of the
... [+]drone.UZHThe other limitation is that the drone’s position had to be monitored by a series of external cameras so its progress along the 3D planned flight path could be tracked exactly – this required one of the world’s largest motion-capture systems. A practical solution needs to work with just the data gathered from the drone’s own sensors. headtopics.com
The work was funded by the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research as part of theirRescue Robotics Grand Challengeto develop automated technology for search and rescue, and could enable drones to find victims faster. A flight planning system which can produce the fastest safe routes could provide real benefits for a variety of other air vehicles too.
“For other flying vehicles, or general 3D motion planning, where multiple objectives have to be fulfilled in sequence, our approach could be a viable solution,” says Föhn.This could include urban air taxis and parcel deliveries, as well as efficient infrastructure inspection by drones, and other emergency services.Read more: Forbes »
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