Robots

Aerobot: an Autonomous Airship

Posted 1 Sep 2005 at 22:47 UTC by steve Share This

A Nature.com article describes Aerobot, an 11 meter long autonomous airship. Aerobot is being developed by Alberto Elfes and a NASA team as a testbed for a potential aerial planetary exploration robot. It would be able to cover greater distances than a ground rover but provide better images than an orbiting platform. Aerobot is smart enough to correct its course in wind. It can also assess the danger of air turbulence with its wind sensors and move to a safe altitude if needed. On Earth the robot takes advantage of GPS signals but it can also track its location using only images it takes of the ground. A newer model of the robot may be launched toward Titan in 2012. In the meantime, similar robots may be developed to monitor rainforests or act as temporary communication platforms over disaster areas. A few more details are available on the NASA Aerobot page.

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