MIT’s aerospace engineers have devised an algorithm that helps the drone find the fastest route around an obstacle without collision.Credits: MIT News, background map courtesy of researchers

The new algorithm has the potential to enable fast and agile drones for time-critical operations such as search and rescue.

If you’re following an autonomous drone race, you’ll remember a crash as much as a win. In drone racing, teams compete for which vehicles are better trained to fly the fastest on an obstacle course. However, the faster the drone’s flight speed, the more unstable it becomes, and at high speeds the aerodynamics can be too complex to predict. Therefore, crashes are common and often spectacular.

However, if the drone can be moved faster and more agile, it can be used in time-critical operations beyond the race course, for example to find survivors of natural disasters.

Currently, aerospace engineers More…