Autonomous Drone Races Against World-Class Human Pilots, Wins Big

Autonomous Drone Races Against World-Class Human Pilots, Wins Big

For the first time, an autonomous drone has beat two human pilots in a drone race. Thanks to a new algorithm created by a team of researchers from the University of Zurich, which determines the time-optimal trajectories, the drone outperformed the pilots. Because of their limited battery life, drones must fulfill whatever duty they are given as quickly as possible. Not only that, but they need to be fast enough in order to be used in different applications such as search and rescue operations, inspecting a building, or delivering cargo. Moreover, in recent years the vehicles have not only been used for aerial photography, but they also became the subject of one of the fastest-growing sports in the world: drone racing. What began as a hobby has now evolved into a professional international sport, where pilots race with custom-built drones at speeds over 80 mph (129 kph) through 3D courses. Human drone pilots are incredibly skilled at this and have consistently outperformed autonomous drones in drone races – until now. A team of researchers at the University of Zurich has …
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