MIT Stories November 6

Finding lost hikers in a forest can be very difficult as the thick canopy prevents helicopters and manned aircraft from getting a glimpse of what is down below. Using drones may be difficult as well as flying in between the trees, GPS signals may be very difficult to pick up. This is where autonomous fleets of drones outfitted with LIDAR systems may come to the rescue of lost hikers, as presented by MIT researchers at the International Symposium on Experimental Robotics conference.

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MIT Stories June 20

A team of MIT researchers has built a fully customized chip from the ground up. They focused on developing a chip with reduced power consumption and size while at the same time increasing its processing speeds. The new chip design will allow drones the size of a honeybee or so-called nano-drones to determine their location and navigate obstacles during flight.

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MIT Stories December 9, 2017

MIT’s AeroAstro labs is working on a special rocket drone that can fly up to Mach 0.8 (614 mph) and it is called the Firefly. The zeppelin-shaped mini-rocket is designed to be launched from a fighter jet to collect data or distract enemy weapons systems.

The Firefly is designed in response to a challenge presented by the U.S. Air Force. The assignment was as follows: develop an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) no more than 2.5 inches wide and 17 inches long that can be launched mid-air from a fighter jet and that can fly at Mach 0.8 for 2 to 5 minutes. MIT had been successful in the past designing the Peredix swarming drones so they were up for the challenge.

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