Wednesday 3 May 2017

Swarms of Autonomous Aerial Vehicles Test New Dogfighting Skills

Hummingbirds, dragonflies, bats, bees, cockroaches - around the world, autonomous mini robots are being worked on, which are not only to perform specific tasks but also to interact in groups as far as possible. We can go through a lot of Technology News that buds over online and also through tech magazines.

Unmanned aerial vehicle is an important addition to manned aviation. Compared to the use of robots in the industry, which carry out dangerous or monotonous activities to assist the worker, the unmanned flying pilot relieves the crew of dangerous or monotonous missions. Possible scenarios are flying in disaster areas, inspection of supply lines (overhead power lines, oil pipelines), traffic monitoring (flying between high-rise buildings) or in bad environmental conditions (fog, storm).

Missions to be undertaken by unmanned aircraft in the future are typically complex and therefore require a wide range of capabilities. For this reason basic research is necessary on several subject areas. The Unmanned Aircraft Division of the DLR Institute of Flight Systems Technology meets this complexity by carrying out research in the following fields.

Flight control and mission control solutions with highly uncertain system and environmental characteristics, Sensorfusion and environmental awareness with camera and laser as a sensor in flight control, System solutions for extremely small footprint.

The goal is the simple and safe operation of an unmanned aircraft in unknown terrain. For this purpose, necessary intervention by the pilot is to be minimized by a high degree of automation of the overall system. In addition, the department is concerned with the simultaneous operation of manned and unmanned aircraft in a common airspace, hardware and software development as well as admissions aspects.

The applications and the associated methods are focused on modern aviation and spacecraft with the different subsystems and support processes. Research on the unmanned aerial vehicle continues to include areas that are located outside the traditional aerospace themes.

Their research results have resulted in development and evaluation capabilities that make the department an attractive partner for industry, government agencies and other research institutions outside the aerospace industry. A number of experimental unmanned aerial vehicle is available to the department to carry out the research. In addition to a fleet of unmanned helicopters of different sizes, it is also possible to use automatically controlled surface aircraft and parachute load-bearing systems for research purposes.

It is already impressive when Honda's humanoid robot Asimo slowly rises up a flight of stairs. But what fascinates the viewer is probably primarily due to the endeavour to construct a being in his own image. In fact, Asimo is dumb, is controlled from a distance, and if he does not recharge the after 40 minutes, he falls asleep.

But even if creatures such as Asimo still dominate the coverage, robotic researchers have long since found new models for their designs. For a long time, they did not have to search for it: After the principle of trial and error, Mother Nature finally produced enough successful creatures. And, by the way, has three important lessons.

  • Specialization is efficiency. 
  •  It does not depend on the size. 
  •  Intelligence is not a question of the brain volume.
Efficiency through specialization

Among other things in the world of social insects it is part of everyday life that the inhabitants of a colony share the work. Depending on the role a specimen is to fill, it often possesses an extremely deviant physique. Nor is science so far as the nature where workers and queens are born with the same genetic equipment.

In the EU-sponsored Swarmanoid project, which runs until spring 2020, more than 60 autonomous robots are to work together to fulfil different tasks. Foot bots roll on the ground and possess special sensory abilities. Hand bots can climb vertical surfaces and manipulate objects, while the camera-bearing eye bots are raised by four rotors.

The possibility to observe the world almost unrecognized from above, of course, makes the military of this world listen. And so the robotic bat, which the US Army has developed within the framework of the COM-BAT program of three US universities for tens of millions of dollars, specializes in this task: it is to look at the world in stereo, Serve as a flying hornpot, sniff out gases and detect radioactivity. The bat is about 15 centimetres long still quite large. As she sails through the air, she recharges her battery via a miniaturized wind turbine and solar cells.

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