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ISSE's robot ensemble in action at the ScaleX 2016 geographic measurement campaign


In summer 2016, ISSE researchers developed an ensemble of aerial and ground robots as a new instrument for environmental measurements. During the measurement campaign ScaleX 2016, four quadrocopters and a mobile ground robot worked together to collect temperature data across a geographic measurement site in Fendt near Peißenberg.

For environmental measurements, often large stationary devices are used. Mobile robots, in particular multicopters, become increasingly popular due to their flexibility. ISSE researchers used an ensemble of ground and air robots to collect temperature data across a geographic measurement site in Fendt near Peißenberg. Each robot carried prototypes of small, modular sensors (so-called "cubes") that are developed at ISSE. Additionally, the ensemble as a whole carried a large-scale temperature measurement device. The ground robot, a customized "Heros" platform by Innok Robotics, carried an Oryx DTS measurement unit. This unit is able to measure temperature along thin fibre-optic cables. Such a cable of only 0.9mm in diameter was then lift into the air by the four quadrocopters of type "Rachel" by rOsewhite/iRC Electronic. This way, a measuring length of roughly 50m could be achieved. The robot ensemble then moved as a whole and was thus able to collect a temperature profile in a larger area in short time. The measurements along the fibre-optic cable were complemented by the measurements of the cubes on each robot. The main challenge was to tightly coordinate all movements in order not to break the thin fibre. To achieve this, a novel software architecture involving self-organization mechanisms has been developed. In the future, such swarms of heterogeneous robots might prove to be a flexible and powerful addition to stationary environmental measurement devices.

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message of 21.10.2016