Now this is impressive. This “self-flying” drone is able to swiftly navigate obstacles while flying through the sky at 30 miles per hour in a new video released by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab.
The autonomous drone is so smart it’s able to avoid crashing into people or things, according to Andrew Barry, a doctoral candidate at MIT. Barry developed a stereo-vision algorithm that allows the drone’s software to build a map of the surrounding area in real time, focusing on areas 10 meters away from the drone. The map allows the drone to fly safely through the area without running into anything or needing a human operator.
“You don’t have to know about anything that’s closer or further than that,” Barry told MIT. “As you fly, you push that 10-meter horizon forward, and, as long as your first 10 meters are clear, you can build a full map of the world around you.”
Now here’s the best part. The open-source software operates at 120 frames per second and is able to extract depth information at a speed of 8.3 milliseconds per frame, according to MIT. The drone used in the video has a 34-inch wingspan with cameras on each wing and processors that researchers say are “no fancier than the ones you’d find on a cellphone.”