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Machines Like Us

Smart-flying robot avoids obstacles

Thursday, 01 November 2012

An autonomous flying robot that is as smart as a bird when it comes to manoeuvring around obstacles has been developed by an Indian-origin scientist and his colleagues.

Able to guide itself through forests, tunnels or damaged buildings, the machine could have tremendous value in search-and-rescue operations, researchers say.

Small flying machines are already common, and Global Positioning System (GPS) technology provides guidance. Now, Ashutosh Saxena from Cornell University and his team are tackling the hard part: how to keep the vehicle from slamming into walls and tree branches.

Human controllers can't always react swiftly enough, and radio signals may not reach everywhere the robot goes.

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