AI News, Concept Art Hints at the Awesome Future of Drones

Concept Art Hints at the Awesome Future of Drones

Heck, it's been frustrating for years, as the promise of robotics in the future is always incredibly awesome, while the present state of robotics (being constrained by inconvenient things like, you know, reality) is, well, not quite as incredibly awesome.

This awesome of which we speak seems to be perpetually about five years away, and in order to not be depressed about this all the time, it's nice to stretch our imaginations once in a while through the unabashed reality-independence of artistic concepts, like these.

The large beacon on top creates a highly visible warning to cars for safer solo outings on narrow one-lane roads and a camera records dynamic video of each ride.

It can carry explosives to trigger preventative avalanches without requiring a helicopter or a team of demolitions experts to reach inaccessible mountain passes that would inevitably trigger explosives manually.

It can also be sent to an avalanche zone to perform search and rescue missions to find victims under the snow by using its thermal cameras and sending the information to the rescue team.

The Hummingbirds are autonomous flying drones that scout large areas of land using sensors that identify soil that is rich in nutrients in hard to reach terrain that would otherwise be inaccessible through traditional agricultural techniques.

The slick, organic design presents a friendlier appearance to the flying vehicles and the polished surface reflects the environment and helps keep the drone electronics from overheating in warm climates.

Autonomy is what's going to be tricky: we're not talking about just going from GPS coordinate to GPS coordinate without crashing into a tree , but rather actively integrating sensor data to make decisions and complete tasks for long-term full autonomy.

Leading and following a bicyclist (aka a set of moving GPS coordinates) along a road (which has been pre-mapped and is visually well-defined) is probably achievable, although the length of your bike ride (and perhaps the speed) is going to be significantly restricted by the drone's battery life, and whether or not cars would actually pay any attention to a flying warning robot isn't very certain.

Search and rescue is a bit more difficult, not not exceptionally so, especially since the robot would be looking for thermal signatures in an environment comprised mainly of cold trees, cold rocks, and cold snow.

Rescue robot

A rescue robot is a robot that has been designed for the purpose of rescuing people.[1] Common situations that employ rescue robots are mining accidents, urban disasters, hostage situations, and explosions.

“Strong government funding and support is needed if search and rescued robots are to see widespread use in fewer than 14 years.”[4] This means that without the help of government the technology for these devices are not available or they cost too much.

Using a proven-in-practice user-centric design methodology, TRADR develops novel science and technology for human-robot teams to assist in urban search and rescue disaster response efforts, which stretch over multiple sorties in missions that may take several days or weeks.

Throughout this collaborative effort, TRADR enables the team to gradually develop its understanding of the disaster area over multiple, possibly asynchronous sorties (persistent environment models), to improve team members’ understanding of how to work in the area (persistent multi-robot action models), and to improve team-work (persistent human-robot teaming).

TRADR focuses on an industrial accident scenario, but the technology is equally applicable for using robots in other disaster, emergency and urban search and rescue (USAR) scenarios, such as earthquake relief, as the TRADR deployment of robots in Amatrice, Italy, on September 1, 2016 shows.

The goal of SHERPA is to develop a mixed ground and aerial robotic platform to support search and rescue activities in a real-world hostile environment like the alpine scenario.

What makes the project potentially very rich from a scientific viewpoint is the heterogeneity and the capabilities to be owned by the different actors of the SHERPA system: the 'human' rescuer is the 'busy genius', working in team with the ground vehicle, as the 'intelligent donkey', and with the aerial platforms, i.e.

mix of advanced control and cognitive capabilities characterize the SHERPA system, aiming to support the rescuer by improving his awareness of the rescue scene even in tough environments and with the 'genius' often 'busy' in the rescuing activity (and thus unable to supervise the platform).

Thus emphasis is placed on robust autonomy of the platform, acquisition of cognitive capabilities, collaboration strategies, natural and implicit interaction between the 'genius' and the 'SHERPA animals', which motivate the research activity.

Some disasters, due to grave risks to the health and wellbeing of rescue and aid workers, prove too great in scale or scope for timely and effective human response.

Improvements in supervised autonomy, in particular, aim to enable better control of robots by non-expert supervisors and allow effective operation despite degraded communications (low bandwidth, high latency, intermittent connection).

National Science Foundation - Where Discoveries Begin

Five lessons from Hurricane Katrina (and 22 subsequent emergency robot deployments)

Investigators

RobinMurphy

Related Institutions/Organizations

College Station

, Texas

#0224401CISE Research Resources: R4: Rescue Robots for Research and Response

#9617309CISE Research Instrumentation: Intelligent Assistance for Multiple Robots

#1135848RAPID: Sendai Earthquake and Tsunami- Remote Assessment Using Land, Sea and Aerial Unmanned Systems

#0554059SGER: Hurricane Katrina- Documenting Damage to Multi-Story Commercial Structures along the Gulf Coast using Rotary-Wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

- 2016

Drones Could Rescue Drowning Victims

On other hand, if you do find yourself struggling to stay afloat on the high seas, know that a rescue drone could be on its way with a flotation device.

Meet Pars, the seafaring Savior Arial Robot, a quadrotor concept designed to fly to the relief of people drowning near coastlines.

Developed by the folks at RTS Lab in Iran, Pars is equipped with three life preservers, artificial intelligence, sound and image processing, autopilot search and rescue and a wide array of sensor technologies.

Once Pars is spotted, victims can shout at it, which developers say will activate some sort of intelligence system that drops a life preserver.

Pars can also track its path by GPS positioning and return from its rescue mission without user guidance.

Drone Pilot Helps Rescue Flood Victims in Texas

If you want a case-in-point example of the crucial role drones can play at the scene of a disaster, just watch these videos taken by an amateur pilot, and good Samaritan, from Texas.

Garret Bryl, a volunteer drone pilot working with the Joshua Fire Department in Texas, used his drone on two separate occasions to help save four people stranded amidst raging floodwaters on Sunday.

Bryl first used his drone to locate a pickup truck with two occupants that had been ferried off the road and into a patch of trees, leaving it hidden from rescuers.

Pars life-saving flying robot is now a reality

RTS Lab has pointed out that the drone's fast speed combined with a capacity for several life preservers means it could attend to multiple people in one trip as well

RTS Lab has successfully tested a prototype of its Pars aerial robot, a drone that flies out over large bodies of water to drop life preservers near drowning victims

When conducting a trial rescue mission, the drone was able to reach a target 75 m (246 ft) away in about 22 seconds, while a human lifeguard took 91 seconds to swim to the same location

RTS Lab hopes to refine its current design based on these trials and possibly add some more features, though it is still looking for further funding to make this possible

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