Have you ever thought about how hard it is to walk? It's not something we often think about but, in reality, walking is incredibly difficult! Each step takes coordination between your brain and all the muscles in your legs. Each muscle has to move and contract in the proper sequence to move your leg out, place it on the ground, move forward, and repeat....
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For one of my classes at Penn, I got a chance to learn all about how to make quad copters autonomous. All the 'drones' that have been becoming popular recently are almost all radio controlled, with some of the more expensive ones having a few layers of autonomy between it and the user. But for this class, we wanted to figure out how to make the quad completely autonomous - we wanted to get to a specified point without hitting obstacles with no other human input. We can do this by breaking this problem into three smaller parts: control, obstacle avoidance, and motion planning.