The goal of this project is to push the state-of-the-art in autonomous helicopter flight: extreme aerobatics under computer control.

Featured Videos

Autonomous airshow
Autonomous Chaos
More videos (including autorotation) below or on our YouTube Channel.


Autonomous Helicopter Aerobatics through Apprenticeship Learning, Pieter Abbeel, Adam Coates, and Andrew Y. Ng. IJRR, 2010. [IJRR]  Dataset
Learning for Control from Multiple Demonstrations, Adam Coates, Pieter Abbeel, and Andrew Y. Ng. ICML, 2008. [ps, pdf]  Talk PPT slides,  Supplementary Material (Videos)
Best Application Paper Award
Autonomous Autorotation of an RC Helicopter, Pieter Abbeel, Adam Coates, Timothy Hunter, and Andrew Y. Ng. In International Symposium on Robotics, 2008. [pdf]  Supplementary Material (Videos)
Ben Wegbreit IFRR Student Fellowship Award
An Application of Reinforcement Learning to Aerobatic Helicopter Flight, Pieter Abbeel, Adam Coates, Morgan Quigley, and Andrew Y. Ng. In NIPS 19, 2007. [ps, pdf]
Learning vehicular dynamics, with application to modeling helicopters, Pieter Abbeel, Varun Ganapathi, and Andrew Y. Ng. In NIPS 18, 2006. [ps, pdf]
Inverted autonomous helicopter flight via reinforcement learning, Andrew Y. Ng, Adam Coates, Mark Diel, Varun Ganapathi, Jamie Schulte, Ben Tse, Eric Berger and Eric Liang. In International Symposium on Experimental Robotics, 2004. [ps, pdf]

Pictures and Video

Pieter Abbeel's PhD Defense, May 19, 2008. [mp4 (320x180), mp4 (640x360)]
Stanford News article with video, August, 2008. [Stanford News Service]
ICML 2008 Talk, Helsinki, Finland. July 5, 2008. [VideoLectures.net]
Autonomous airshow #2 - Different Camera Angle, August 2008. [mp4 (640x360), mp4 (960x540)]
Autonomous airshow #2, June 2008. [mp4 (640x360), mp4 (960x540)]
Autorotation landing, May 2008. [mp4 (640x360), mp4 (960x540)]
Extended Chaos, April 2008. [mp4 (640x360), mp4 (960x540)]
Autonomous airshow, November 2007. [mp4 (720x405), mp4 (960x540), wmv (960x540)]
Chaos, November 2007. [mp4 (720x405), mp4 (1920x1080), wmv (720x405)]
Tic-toc from multiple demonstrations and online learning, September 2007. [wmv]
Tic-toc learning (short), September 2007. [wmv]
Tic-toc learning (long), September 2007. [wmv]
Autonomous flips from multiple demonstrations, September 2007. [wmv]
Autonomous flips from single demonstration, June 2007. [wmv]
Autonomous rolls from single demonstration, June 2007. [wmv]
Autonomous Flips, November 2006. [mp4, wmv]
Autonomous Rolls, November 2006. [mp4, wmv]
Autonomous Nose-In Funnels, November 2006. [mp4, wmv]
Autonomous Tail-In Funnels, November 2006. [mp4, wmv]
Large Flips Mosaic, November 2006. [jpg, eps]
Large Rolls Mosaic, November 2006. [jpg, eps]
Inverted Hovering, December 2003. [mp4, wmv]




Helicopter Pilots

  • Garett Oku, November 2006 - Present
  • Benedict Tse, November 2003 - November 2006
  • Mark Diel, January 2003 - November 2003