AI News, Quadrotors Learning to Surf Urban Winds for Huge Performance Boosts

Quadrotors Learning to Surf Urban Winds for Huge Performance Boosts

Personally, I don’t believe that urban delivery drones are a.) going to happen anytime soon or b.) even that good of an idea.

One of the problems (among many, which I’ve discussed in previous posts) that urban drones have to deal with is efficiency: batteries count as payload, so if you want to fly farther, you’ll be carrying less of whatever your customers are paying for.

By modeling how wind blows around dense concentrations of buildings, quadrotors can plan intelligent trajectories to seek out tailwinds and avoid headwinds, boosting their efficiency and potentially leading to both higher speed and longer range.

Most of the work that’s been done on drones and wind focuses on the calm, happy sort of wind that makes golden fields of wheat gracefully sway back and forth as a puppy frolics through them.

At 5 m/s wind speed, for example, you might reduce energy consumption by a few percent.But as wind speed increases, the wind planner does better and better, especially over longer distances.

With a wind speed of 10 m/s over five hundred meters, the paper claims that“the wind planner demonstrates a 39.4 percent reduction in total energy consumption while traveling 10.8 percent further with a 22 percent shorter flight time.” Whoa.

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