Researchers in Switzerland have created a “smart” drone (unmanned aircraft) that can follow a forest trail–all by itself. The drones use a camera to “see” what lies ahead. The scientists used a deep neural network to program the flying bot. Neural networks are computer programs that can learn. They trained the network on photos of trails, and the program learned when the trail was straight ahead or veering to the left or right. It also learned to turn the aircraft left or right to get back to the trail.

Scientists hope to use the drones in search and rescue efforts to speed up the time required to find lost hikers. Just stay close to the trail while you wait.

 

 

Did you know? Neural networks are computer programs that mimic the way a brain works. They allow the computer to learn–just like us!

Want to know more? Check out my story on these drones for Science News for Students.

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