Sertac Karaman

Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics,

Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems,

Institute for Data, Systems and Society,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Agile Drones

The AgileDrones project aims to build an drone that can fly at high speeds (for instance, reaching 50 mph)
in complex environments (for instance, indoors through corridors or outdoors through buildings at low altitudes).


We have developed multiple drone platforms based on the Nvidia Jetson TX1 and TX2, featuring Jetson carrier

boards and power boards designed at MIT. The platforms implement visual inertial odometry software and

advanced control software designed and implemented at MIT.


FlightGoggles is a first-of-its-kind virtual reality environment for drone research and development.

The advanced simulation environment provided by FlightGoggles allows researchers and developers to

fly their drones in the most realistic simulation possible. The drone flies under a motion capture system;
exteroceptive measurements (such as camera, LiDAR) are created photorealistically in real-time, using
Unity rendering with Nvidia Titan X GPUs, and beamed to the drone with little latency. In this way, the
drone experiences real physics, gets real inertial measurements, but gets photorealistically simulated
camera images. This allows researchers and developers to fly their drones in various simulated
environments. For instance, they can simulate flying outdoors in an urban canyon through buildings,

in simulated disaster zones, in nuclear planes, and so on, at the safety of their lab.



This project will be made partly open source during 2017.