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Robotic Explorers

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The agents of the prototype UGV/UAV cooperative system.

A new system allows air- and ground-based robot vehicles to work cooperatively, without GPS signals or sensor devices.

Credit: The Institution of Engineering and Technology

Yonsei University researchers have developed a system to enable air- and ground-based robot vehicles to cooperate without global-positioning systems signals or sensor devices. The researchers say the system could be used by unmanned vehicle teams to explore dangerous environments.

The system uses stereo vision depth-sensing to provide the obstacle map, and other image-processing methods to identify and track all the agents in the system.

The researchers note the performance of traditional stereo vision-based depth-sensing degrades if the distance from the observed objects becomes much larger than the separation of the cameras. However, they say their technology addresses this limitation by using single cameras on two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), providing much greater separation and control of that separation.

"UAVs equipped with multi-spectral imaging sensors can collect useful information on crops over a large farming area," says Yonsei professor Jiwon Seo. "Based on this information, unmanned tractors could operate more efficiently. As a longer-term development, the system can be applied to emergency patient transport and military applications."

The researchers say the technology could be used over many different single-agent and multi-agent systems. "We think that it is a quite natural path for robotics research to move in this direction over the next decade," Seo says.

From The Institution of Engineering and Technology
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