The goal of the FLA program is to explore non-traditional perception and autonomy methods that could enable a new class of algorithms for minimalistic high-speed navigation in cluttered environments. Through this exploration, the program aims to develop and demonstrate the capability for small (i.e., able to fit through windows) autonomous UAVs to fly at speeds up to 20 m/s with no communication to the operator and without GPS waypoints. The FLA program will demonstrate a sequence of capabilities, beginning with lower-clutter, fly-by missions and progressing to higher-clutter, fly-through missions. The program focuses on autonomy and not on the flight platform, where “autonomy” includes sensing, perception, planning, and control. Autonomous flight capabilities are being developed and demonstrated using custom payloads on a commercial quadrotor platform.
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