Building the next generation airspace control system is no small task. In some cases, we will need to apply new technologies and ideas, in others we will need to be creative and come up with new ideas. If you are curious to learn more, read on to learn how researchers at Georgia Tech are tackling the problem
As more autonomous aerial vehicles crowd into the airspace, we’re going to need some measures to keep them from crashing into each other. Air traffic control networks are in development, but in the meantime researchers at Georgia Tech are teaching drones a few simple rules to help them avoid collisions on their own. When humans do need to interact with the drones, an autonomous blimp, kitted out with gesture and facial recognition, could be our mediator.
Before they took this idea to the skies, the Georgia Tech researchers experimented with similar safety systems for robots running around on the ground. But these landlubbers have a bit of an advantage: they only really need a flat circle of personal space. Flying drones, on the other hand, can move about in three dimensions, ducking over and under each other on their way to their goal, which can create potentially devastating turbulence.
“Ground robots have had built-in safety ‘bubbles’ around them for a long time to avoid crashing,” says Magnus Egerstedt, lead researcher on the project. “Our quadcopters must also include a cylindrical ‘do not touch’ area to avoid messing up the airflow for each other. They’re basically wearing virtual top hats.”
About Georgia Tech
Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the Georgia Institute of Technology is a leading research university committed to improving the human condition through advanced science and technology.
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