Flying robots show great potential in many diverse applications as they can rapidly travel over rough terrain, naturally overcome large obstacles and can provide powerful sensing with a bird's-eye view. Swarms of flying robots are robust due to redundancy, allow for parallel operation and can help each other, for example to cover vast outdoor areas or to create mobile sensor networks. Swarms of flying robots can be deployed for searching tasks in disaster situations, such as in earthquakes or terrorist attacks, to locate humans who may need help.
Swarm intelligence techniques would also enable these flying robots to collaborate with each other in order to solve certain problems they may encounter, which may not have been possible with a single flying robot.
One of the main limitations with flying robots is the limited amount of energy available for flying. This limitation is heavily dependant on the battery technology that is currently available, equating to approximately 15 to 30 minutes for platforms with a diameter of 100cm or less.
We propose a new method to help mitigate this limitation by using swarms of flying robots that are energetically connected to a centralised energy station called a HiveShip. The batteries of each robot will be automatically hot-swapped when their energy is depleted, thus allowing for continuous operation during a searching task, similar to bees travelling back and forth from a hive. Such a platform would create the possibility for some interesting research in aerial swarm intelligence.
The aim of this project is to design and build a prototype of a HiveShip, including several autonomous flying robots, and to develop some basic swarm intelligence behaviours with in-field experiments.
In this project, we intend to:
- develop the aforementioned HiveShip;
- develop the technologies that will allow for automatic battery hot-swapping for the flying robots;
- develop some basic swarm intelligence behaviours with in-field experiments.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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