Drones are getting faster — and smarter too.
DARPA, the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, announced Friday that it hit a new milestone in the development of fast, lightweight drones that can navigate themselves.
Loaded with sensors, the quadcopter still hit speeds of 40 mph or 20 meters per second while flying through a cluttered warehouse.
In another test in the aircraft hangar turned warehouse, the drone spotted boxes in its path and could fly around them. It’s still a pretty jerky motion, but DARPA was happy to see progress ahead of its goals.
And yes, there may have been a lot of crashes along the way, too.
“We’re excited that we were able to validate the airspeed goal during this first-flight data collection,” said Mark Micire, DARPA program manager, in the announcement. “The fact that some teams also demonstrated basic autonomous flight ahead of schedule was an added bonus.”
Here’s what a drone flying at 45mph looks like:
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