The faster drones fly, the more unstable they become and at high speeds, their aerodynamics can be too complicated to predict. Crashes, therefore, are a common and often spectacular occurrence. But if they can be pushed to be faster and more nimble, drones could be put to use in time-critical operations beyond the race course; for instance to search for survivors in a natural disaster.
MIT has devised an algorithm that helps drones find the fastest route around obstacles without crashing. The new algorithm combines simulations of a drone flying through a virtual obstacle course with data from experiments of a real drone flying through the same course in a physical space.
A drone trained with their algorithm flew through a simple obstacle course up to 20 percent faster than a drone trained on conventional planning algorithms.