The University of Oregon (OSU) has conducted a study which demonstrates that more than 100 autonomous ground and air robots can be controlled by a single person without excessive load. These findings represent a significant advancement towards the effective and economical use of robots in various fields such as fighting forest fires, delivering parcels, and responding to emergency situations in urban conditions.
The Oregon State University, which also participated in the study, notes that while delivery drones have not yet been widely adopted in the United States, other countries have already begun actively utilizing them. Scientists believe that scaling the use of delivery drones makes sense, but it would require one person to be responsible for a large number of drones. The work of specialists in this study is the initial step towards obtaining additional data that could facilitate the implementation of such a system.
The research, published in the magazine Field Robotics, was part of a four-year project. Researchers utilized up to 250 autonomous vehicles, including multi-engine air drones and ground rovers, to collect information in urban areas where satellite communications are difficult due to buildings. The data gathered can contribute to the security of both US military personnel and civilians.
Smart Information Flow Technologies has developed an i3 virtual interface that enables commanders to manage the fleet of drones. Instead of manually controlling each vehicle, the commander can assign tasks and make adjustments through the interface. This system was tested at various military training facilities, where more than 100 vehicles were deployed. Physiological sensors were used to measure the level of load on the commanders during field exercises. Despite surpassing the overload threshold on multiple occasions, the commanders successfully completed their missions, even in challenging weather conditions. This study opens up new possibilities for using a swarm of robots in different fields, ensuring task efficiency and safety.