These Drones Can Drive And Fly

Jun 28, 2017 at 1:33 PM ET

A new drone prototype developed by MIT can switch between flying and driving, offering a glimpse at a future of transportation in which cars could just take off and soar away when the situation calls for it. More significantly, the research team developed software that controls packs of these drones — keeping them from crashing into one another in a highly complex game of air-traffic control.

Researchers at the university’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, or CSAIL, tested the drones in a mock cityscape, with roads, buildings and parks, teaching them to drive and fly around while avoiding obstacles and one another. The software can theoretically control as many as 80 of the devices at once.

Obviously, a world where your vehicle autonomously flies you out of a traffic jam is a long, long way off. But still pretty fun to imagine.