Stanfords Robotic Helicopters Teach Each Other New Tricks

Stanfords Robotic Helicopters Teach Each Other New Tricks

Posted On: September 2, 2008
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Maybe you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but what about robot helicopters? A team of Stanford University geniuses have learned how to get a team of autonomous helicopters to fly better than the expert RC stunt pilot who “trained” them. The core of the system is a computer that analyzes data fed to it from instruments both on the ‘copters and on the ground, and sends 20 instructions every second to the units in flight.

Previous attempts had autonomous helicopters trying to mimic the instructions an RC pilot would send, but due to the unpredictable nature of the wind, the result was stiff flying and potential crashes. Stanford’s ‘copters can “watch and learn,” by analyzing the way a human operator reacts to his helicopter to keep it aloft during precise tricks, and then respond to changes in the air more fluidly.

[Stanford news service]