Delivery drones will need to recognize when they are not fit to fly, and this algorithm could help


When (or if) Amazon and other companies begin delivering items via drones, there will be little room for error. Their drones must be equipped to deal with any unexpected obstacles that come their way, whether that’s a construction crane or strong winds and rain.

MIT researchers revealed a set of algorithms today that could help drones avoid catastrophe with advance planning. The first step takes place before the drone even takes to the air, when it computes a few potential routes out of the many it could take, allowing it to determine different situations it might encounter along its journey. That has the added benefit of freeing up computing time while the drone is in the air so it can focus on staying aloft.

“Imagine a huge tree of possibilities, and a large chunk of leaves collapses to one leaf, and you end up with maybe 10 leaves instead of…

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