Drones are versatile machines, which is why they’ve been used to , perform for firefighters and first responders, and put on at the Olympics opening ceremonies. But their propeller-forward form factors aren’t exactly conducive to power efficiency, which limits their flight time.

Fortunately, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), Dartmouth, and the University of Washington are investigating a new drone design approach that combines the best of quadcopters and fixed-wing airplanes. Their work, which they detail in a newly published paper that’ll be presented later this month at the Siggraph conference in Los Angeles, resulted in a novel AI system that allows users to dream up drones of different sizes and shapes that can switch between hovering and gliding with a

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