MIT create autonomous intelligent robot helicopter [Video]

Obviously blind to the threat of robotic attack from the skies, MIT have developed an indoor helicopter that can not only automatically hover but intelligently navigate through a changing environment.  The quad-rotor 'copter has a laser-scanner and dual-camera array, which can build up a real-time map of its environment and identify small openings such as windows.

Video demo after the cut

That map-creation is integrated with an autonomous exploration module, which allows the robotic helicopter to explore the map, fill in any blind-spots and identify objects or targets.  This way, even with no GPS signal the robot can be used for search & observation, such as inside buildings or underground.

It can even do this while being jabbed at by someone with a big wooden stick, as you can see in the video below.  The 'copter was entered into the 2009 International Aerial Robotics Competition – in which vehicles must navigate an unknown environment, fly through a vehicle and then reach, and decipher, a color-coded control panel – and broke a nineteen year record by completing the fifth mission in the first year it was held.

[hat tip to Mike Elgan]