Robotic helicopter

Robotic helicopter

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Credit: VOLKER STEGER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Robotic helicopter held by researcher Eric Feron. The helicopter has an onboard computer (metal box) for its autopilot program. It was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA. It comprises a radio-controlled minicopter that was modified with a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, an altimeter, a compass and an array of inertial sensors. These relayed data from test flights flown by remote control. Simulations from this data, aided the writing of the autopilot software. It performed the first-ever autonomous axial roll in November 2001. Planned uses include filming and military uses. Feron is Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT.

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