Robot airplane flies by itself and maneuvers without GPS

MIT's Robust Robotics Group, led by professor Nick Roy, shows an autonomous robotic airplane that's able to dodge pillars in a parking garage.

Imagine a robotic plane flying without a pilot -- or GPS. A team at MIT has just unveiled its latest prototype.

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So, how does it work?

It's able to maneuver with the implementation of a new algorithm that can calculate its location, orientation, velocity, and acceleration.

And the implications are many. For example, your FedEx packages could be transported by autonomous planes, or autonomous helicopters could swoop down and rescue injured soldiers in battlefields. You might even find yourself on a commercial flight sans pilot -- well, maybe.

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