Even drones designed for professionals don’t have the longest battery life, so whether it be shooting a movie scene or searching for survivors in an emergency situation, they need to be ultra precise. This means that obstacles, like windows, doors, rubble, etc., cannot deter them from reaching their intended destination. University of Zurich (UZH) researchers have developed an algorithm that can guide a quadrotor on the quickest trajectory possible. Read more for a video and additional information.
Using the proprietary algorithm, their four propeller drone defeated the fastest lap of two world-class human pilots on an experimental race track. More specifically, the research team used the algorithm and two human pilots fly the same quadrotor through a race circuit. External cameras were employed to capture the motion of the drones and to provide real-time information for the algorithm on where the quadrotor was at any moment.
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The novelty of the algorithm is that it is the first to generate time-optimal trajectories that fully consider the drones’ limitations. The key idea is, rather than assigning sections of the flight path to specific waypoints, that our algorithm just tells the drone to pass through all waypoints, but not how or when to do that,” said Philipp Foehn, PhD student and first author of the paper.