Researchers have just developed a new system for controlling unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in critical scenarios, according to a study published on the preprint server. You can use the augmented reality (AR) interface hands-free and control the UAV using the head-up display.
Computer science and robotics scientists have introduced a wide range of new tools to empower humans in critical missions such as military operations or search and rescue. In these cases, UAVs become especially needed, as they can penetrate into remote or dangerous areas where people may not survive. Researchers at Polytechnique Montréal have added an intuitive head-up visual interface for UAV controllers.
“Our research was born out of a partnership between the industrial company Humanitas Solutions Inc. and the Computer Graphics and Virtual Reality Research Laboratory (LIRV) of the Montreal Polytechnic under the direction of Professor Benoit Osell, said recent study co-author Dani Nasser Addin for TechXplore. “I was a graduate student and this article is the result of my research over the past two years.”
The main goal of this study, led by Nasser Addin and his advisor Ozell, was to assess the potential of several technologies, such as AR, in giving people more control in critical situations. The researchers collaborated with people who periodically interviewed Montreal firefighters to better understand how new technologies could help them do their jobs.
“The goal of our research was to support these firefighters in Montreal by flying a swarm of multiple drones with a single AR headset during an emergency,” Nasser Addin explains in a TechXplore report. “To do this, we developed an augmented reality interface using the Magic Leap 1 headset, which can be used to control a swarm of UAVs in an emergency.”
“Our goal was to assess whether AR could be an important tool in the future in critical situations,” adds Addin. Notably, this new control system is completely hands-free, allowing undercover agents, military personnel on dangerous missions, and rescue firefighters to focus on work without being distracted by manual control of the UAV.
Interesting Engineering notes that the possibilities of using AR-controlled UAVs in critical scenarios are enormous. From preventing deaths during natural disasters to containing early wildfires to police and military action, drone swarms will reduce risks to users. But the question of whether these technologies will be used from an ethical point of view in all areas remains open.