A drone race at UCF on Tuesday made one thing clear: the robot revolution remains a ways off.
A parade of autonomous drones took turns tumbling awkwardly through the air, veering sharply toward walls and crashing, sometimes in spectacular fashion, at Addition Arena during the first-ever race of the machines.
Nine vehicles were given three chances to navigate a track made up of four square-shaped checkpoints essentially set in a straight line during the Drone Racing League’s season-opening event. Of the 27 runs, only two resulted in the drone making it through the first checkpoint.
But experts and representatives for the global league said that’s just part of the fun.
“If you’re not seeing any failures, you are not pushing the technology enough,” said Sertac Karaman, an associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, during a panel discussion on the drones, which were programmed with artificial intelligence.