Algorithm Finds When a Zigzag Path Is Quickest

— New Scientist

A zigzag path can be quicker than a straight line when travelling underwater, due to constantly changing currents that can both help and hinder progress. Now, researchers have figured out an algorithm that lets automated underwater vehicles (AUVs) navigate turbulent waters in the most efficient way possible.

While the algorithm was developed with underwater vehicles in mind, Pierre Lermusiaux, a mechanical engineer at MIT who led the research, says it could also be used by aerial drones struggling against the winds or even by tiny medical robots designed to swim through blood vessels. The team will present their research at the 2012 International Conference on Robotics and Automation in St. Paul, Minnesota

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