NASA looks to bolster drone, autonomous vehicle research

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NASA announced new research Monday that could bolster the nation’s use of autonomous technologies in urban areas.

The outcomes of three new projects could help a reluctant public and state and local policymakers overcome reservations with autonomous technology.

One will attempt to develop new algorithms that raise the confidence in a machine’s ability to make decisions, which could contribute to a reliable autonomous certification process. Researchers also will develop new “methods and technologies” to verify drones are structurally and mechanically sound before takeoff. And a third project will use quantum computing to build a “jam-free” network that can host thousands of drones each day.

The projects are funded through NASA’s Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program (TACP), an initiative that — according to the agency’s website — “encourages revolutionary concepts” and “drives rapid turnover into potential future concepts.”

“Our idea is to invest a very modest amount of time and money into new technologies that are ambitious and potentially transformative,” Richard Barhydt, acting director of TACP, said in a press release. “They may or may not work, but we won’t know unless we try.”

Read more about NASA’s autonomous research projects on StateScoop.

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Autonomous, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), smart cities
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