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Swarming

A commonly shared dream by engineers and fire & rescue services, would be to have swarms of such drones help in search-and-rescue scenarios, for instance to localize gas leaks without endangering human lives. Tiny drones are ideal for such tasks, since they are small enough to navigate in narrow spaces, safe, agile, and very inexpensive. In this article, we show how we tackled the complex problem of swarm gas source localization in cluttered environments by using a simple bug algorithm with evolved parameters, and then tested it onboard a fully autonomous swarm of tiny drones.

Siddharth Mayya (University of Pennsylvania), Gennaro Notomista (CNRS Rennes), Roderich Gross (The University of Sheffield) and Vijay Kumar (University of Pennsylvania) were the organisers of this IEEE ICRA 2021 workshop aiming to identify and accelerate developments that help swarm robotics technology transition into the real world. Here we bring you the recordings of the session in case you missed it or would like to re-watch.

As robot swarms leave the lab and enter our daily lives, it is important that we find ways by which we can effectively communicate with robot swarms, especially ones that contain a high number of robots. In our lab, we are thinking of ways to make swarms for people that are easy and intuitive to interact with. By making robots expressive, we will be able to understand their state and therefore, we will be able to make decisions accordingly. To that extent, we have created a system where humans can build a canvas with robots and create shapes with up to 300 real robots and up to 1000 simulated robots.

by   -   May 20, 2021

Engineers at EPFL have developed a predictive control model that allows swarms of drones to fly in cluttered environments quickly and safely. It works by enabling individual drones to predict their own behavior and that of their neighbors in the swarm.

Mapping is an essential task in many robotics applications. To build a map, it is frequently assumed that the positions of the robots are a priori unknown and need to be estimated during operation. Multi-robot SLAM is a research direction that addresses the collective exploration and mapping of unknown environments by multi-robot systems. Yet, most results so far have been achieved for small groups of robots. Multi-robot SLAM is still a growing field, and a number of research directions are yet to be explored. Among them, swarm SLAM is an alternative, promising approach that takes advantage of the characteristics of robot swarms.

interview by   -   March 29, 2021
Image credit: J. Blumenkamp, Q. Li, H. Zhong

In this episode, Lilly interviews Amanda Prorok, Professor of Computer Science and Technology at the University of Cambridge. Prorok discusses her research on multi-robot and multi-agent systems and learning coordination policies via Graph Neural Networks. They dig into her recent work on self-interested robots and finding explainability in emergent behavior.

Schools of fish exhibit complex, synchronized behaviors that help them find food, migrate, and evade predators. No one fish or sub-group of fish coordinates these movements, nor do fish communicate with each other about what to do next. Rather, these collective behaviors emerge from so-called implicit coordination — individual fish making decisions based on what they see their neighbors doing.

interview by   -   January 18, 2021

In this episode, Abate follows up with Benjamin Pietro Filardo, founder of Pliant Energy Systems and NACROM, the North American Consortium for Responsible Ocean Mining. Pietro talks about the deep sea mining industry, an untapped market with a massive potential for growth. Pietro discusses the current proposed solutions for deep sea mining which are environmentally destructive, and he offers an alternative solution using swarm robots which could mine the depths of the ocean while creating minimal disturbance to this mysterious habitat.

Robot swarm painting

By Conn Hastings, science writer

Controlling a swarm of robots to paint a picture sounds like a difficult task. However, a new technique allows an artist to do just that, without worrying about providing instructions for each robot. Using this method, the artist can assign different colors to specific areas of a canvas, and the robots will work together to paint the canvas. The technique could open up new possibilities in art and other fields.

interview by   -   March 1, 2020


In this interview, Lilly interviews Vijay Kumar, Professor and Dean at the University of Pennsylvania. He discusses coordination, cooperation, and collaboration in multi-robot systems. He also explains where he draws inspiration from in his research, and why robotics has yet to meet science fiction.

interview by   -   September 2, 2018

In this episode, Audrow Nash interview Magnus Egerstedt, Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, about a way for anyone interested in swarm robotics to test their ideas on hardware, called the Robotarium.  The Robotarium is a 725-square-foot lab at the the Georgia Institute of Technology that houses nearly 100 rolling and flying robots.  To test their ideas, people can write their own programs, upload them to the Robotarium, and then watch the machines carry out their commands.

In this interview, Egerstedt speaks about the kinds of robots used in the Robotarium, design decisions in making the Robotarium, the differences between doing research in simulation and on hardware, and about lessons learnt and the challenges of building the Robotarium.

A Lucie micro drone takes off from a performer’s hand as part of a drone show. Photo: Verity Studios 2017

2017 was the year where indoor drone shows came into their own. Verity Studios’ Lucie drones alone completed more than 20,000 autonomous flights. A Synthetic Swarm of 99 Lucie micro drones started touring with Metallica (the tour is ongoing and was just announced the 5th highest grossing tour worldwide for 2017). Micro drones are now performing at Madison Square Garden as part of each New York Knicks home game — the first resident drone show in a full-scale arena setting. Since early 2017, a drone swarm has been performing weekly on a first cruise ship. And micro drones performed thousands of flights at Changi Airport Singapore as part of its 2017 Christmas show.

interview by   -   October 28, 2017



In this episode, Jack Rasiel interviews Vijay Kumar, Professor and Dean of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.  Kumar discusses the guiding ideas behind his research on micro unmanned aerial vehicles, gives his thoughts on the future of robotics in the lab and field, and speaks about setting realistic expectations for robotics technology.

 

The Weekly Drone Roundup is a newsletter from the Center for the Study of the Drone. It covers news, commentary, analysis and technology from the drone world.

by   -   April 27, 2017

Delivery robots are touted as gaining widespread popularity in the near future. Wheeled models could be suitable for urban areas, while UAVs have great potential in accessing difficult areas and carrying a variety of payloads. But first we have to overcome technical barriers, safety issues and more than a few legal aspects.



Mobile Outdoor Manipulation with RE2 Robotics
August 4, 2021


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