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Autonomous Drone Swarm Can Localize Gas Leaks

Aerial drones.

Researchers from TU Delft (the Netherlands), University of Barcelona, and Harvard University have developed a swarm of tiny drones that can autonomously detect and localize gas sources in cluttered indoor environments.

Credit: Delft University of Technology

Scientists at the Netherlands' Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Spain's University of Barcelona, and Harvard University have engineered a swarm of tiny drones capable of autonomously detecting and localizing gas sources in cramped indoor settings.

TU Delft's Guido de Croon said, "The drones' tiny size makes them very safe to any humans and property still in the building, while their flying capability will allow them to eventually search for the source in three dimensions."

The team implemented bio-inspired navigation and search methods to localize sources while using extremely limited onboard sensing and processing capabilities.

The drones deploy Snuff Bug, a navigation algorithm that lets the swarm spread out until a drone detects gas and alerts the others. Each drone will then collaborate to localize the gas source using a particle swarm optimization algorithm.

From TU Delft (Netherlands)
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