Smart Robotic Drones Advance Science
By Colin Poitras Dr. Chengyu Cao sees a day in the not-so-distant future when intelligent robots will be working alongside humans on a wide range of important tasks from advancing science, to performing deep sea rescues, to monitoring our natural habitats. It’s a bold leap from the pre-programmed factory robots and remote-controlled drones we are most familiar with today. Cao, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and his research team are creating a new generation of smart machines – devices that are fully autonomous and capable of navigating their way through our complex world unassisted. These machines will not only be able to travel untethered from one point to another in space and perform tasks; they will be able to “think” on their own using artificial intelligence to adjust to unforeseen obstacles and situations in their environment – a tree, a building, a sudden gust of wind or change in tidal current – without human interface. It is the stuff of which science fiction movies are made. Read the full story, and watch the exciting video, here.