Darpa Unviels Smart Autonomous Quadcopter Drone

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), just revealed a Autonomous quadcopter drone that flies 45 miles an hour. It’s like a cheetah in the air.

It’s a innovtion of DARPA’s Fast Lightweight Autonomy program (FLA), whose goal is to beef up drone computing abilities that’ll let them carry out tasks, like maneuvering in a crowded space, without a human pilot. What makes this drone even more impressive is that it’s packed with a bunch of sensors and software so as to autonomously navigate around obstacles in its path—all while hitting those unprecedented speeds. That’s what makes this one different from other fast drones in the market. It does go quite slower while autonomously navigating obstacles, however.

Watch a video about the Phase 1 trials below:

The goal of FLA is to develop advanced algorithms to allow unmanned air or ground vehicles to operate without any human help, GPS, or any datalinks going to or coming from the vehicle,” said JC Ledé, the DARPA FLA program manager. “Most people don’t realize how dependent current UAVs are on either a remote pilot, GPS, or both. Small, low-cost unmanned aircraft rely heavily on tele-operators and GPS not only for knowing the vehicle’s position precisely, but also for correcting errors in the estimated altitude and velocity of the air vehicle, without which the vehicle would be totally lost or out of control. In FLA, the aircraft has to figure all of that out on its own with sufficient accuracy to avoid obstacles and complete its mission.”

Darpa drone

Pilot-free, lightweight, smart, and blazing fast. This tech could be a huge help for military missions involving saving civilians in an unpredictable emergency situation, like an earthquake zone, or gather intel in complex indoor spaces. Or just make your jaws drop.