Cognitive Mesh for Drone Communication
The concept of human-robot and robot-robot teaming has gained significant traction as machines continue to advance in intelligence and autonomy. Robotic platforms have already demonstrated the capability to collaborate effectively in various domains, including exploration, surveillance, reconnaissance, intelligence gathering, search and rescue operations, agriculture, as well as military, security, emergency response, and civilian sectors. This cooperative approach has proven to enhance efficiency and effectiveness across a range of applications.
The increasing number of successful applications involving large, heterogeneous robot team coordination systems showcases the unique capabilities and real-world solutions they can offer. It highlights their effectiveness in addressing challenges that are not typically solvable through other forms of coordination.
The coordination system involves the collaboration of multiple robots in order to achieve a common goal. These robots work together to maximize their individual capabilities and skills. The complementary nature of their functions leads to significant advancements in specific applications. However, the true and utmost key challenge lies in ensuring the reliability of an infrastructure-independent communication network.
Dynamic Cognitive Multi-modal Mesh from Fly4Future
Fly4Future has successfully created a sophisticated multi-modal network that not only ensures seamless connectivity, but also enables ad-hoc communications (RF and optical) within extensive heterogeneous teams of multiple robots. These teams are comprised of a wide variety of autonomous drones (UAVs), unmanned ground robots (UGVs), and boats (USVs).
Our communication network stands out due to its strong emphasis on security. We have implemented stringent measures that make it robust against potential jamming or cyber attacks. This comprehensive protection enhances the security of the communication channels and their reliability at all times.
Furthermore, our network is highly dynamic. It allows for the seamless forwarding of information between robots, regardless of their location within the team. This means that data, video, photos, and even control commands can be effortlessly transferred between different robots, facilitating efficient data sharing and coordination.
Our dynamic cognitive mesh relies on both optical and RF technology, providing medium and long range communication channels that can be combined for a variety of applications. This heterogeneity helps robots stay connected in demanding environments, which is particularly beneficial in situations where maintaining connectivity over long distances is crucial.
In summary, our multi-modal network is rare in the field of robotics. It not only provides sttrong and reliable connectivity, but also enables seamless communication, coordination, and data sharing among diverse teams of robots.
With our network, for instance, the possibilities for collaborating drone formations and swarms, as well as interactions between special waterproof drones and boats, are truly limitless.
Optical communications for UAVs
Our UAVs dispose of UVDAR: a unique Optical Camera Communication (OCC) system optimized for UAVs. In the transmitter, it uses high power ultraviolet LEDs with an emission peak centered on the wavelength of 395 nm. In the receiver, it uses a UV sensitive camera equipped with an special optical filter which eliminates most of the background.
The UVDAR system provides the UAVs with a low rate optical communications with ranges of up to 35m. This system supports many-to-many communications links and can operate outdoors under highly dynamic scenarios. In addition, this system offers high levels of protection against external threats. It is immune to jamming, and does not cause electromagnetic interference. This makes it ideal to implement secure ad-hoc communication networks of UAVs, and allow the UAVs to navigate and communicate even in areas that present large amounts of electromagnetic interference.
Furthermore, apart from providing communications, UVDAR can also be used simultaneously for mutual relative localization and identification.
Our UAVs are equipped with communications-aware controllers that adapt their trajectories to permit them complete their missions while maintaining the best possible communications quality.
These controllers predict how their RF and optical communications quality will vary depending on the UAVs motion, and optimally adapt their trajectory to improve the communications.
Thanks to these controllers, the communications of the UAVs is more robust and resistant to jamming attacks. This is achieved by adapting the trajectory to mitigate the effect of small-scale fading, the shadowing and the interference. These controllers are ideal to implement strong UAV communications networks and dynamic chains of aerial communications relays.
Fixed-wing UAV acting as a relay between GU and BS.
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