Unmanned and Cooperative: a two-drone mapKITE experiment within the RAWFIE project

on .

GeoNumerics carried final experiments for their MultiTether project within the RAWFIE framework, an Experimentation-as-a-Service project based on road, air, water unmanned platforms integrated in a federated architecture.

Castelldefels, 20 March 2019. Making a drone to (autonomously) follow one ground platform is already quite a task --two drones becomes hence a challenge. This is what GeoNumerics proposed in the MultiTether project, an approach to simultaneous collection of aerial images from two drones and steering only by one ground platform. The tests of the project consisted on a ground unmanned vehicle, equipped with a real-time navigation system and on-board computer, to compute waypoints for each of the two drones, equipped with optical and multispectral sensors. The novelty of the concept stemmed in the integration of both platforms within the federated architecture proposed in RAWFIE. The platforms are then managed by a central controlling entity to fully overview/drive the operation of the respective items. Internet connectivity is extended to the mobile units in order to enable the remote programming (over-the-air), control and data collection. The result is an experiment-as-a-service paradigm, by which experiment reservation, execution, monitoring and data gathering is made as easy as possible.

In this frame, two experiments were performed at the BCN Drone Center. Firstly, while the ground vehicle was moving, two drones follow its trajectory side-to-side simulating geo-data collection of a double-pass corridor mapping mission. Secondly, a similar mission in which the two drones flew in a "tower" configuration (one on top of the other doubling the flying height) simulating a multi-scale mapping campaign. The succesful campaigns close the nine-month MultiTether project, granted within the 3rd RAWFIE Open Call for experimenters in different fields.

MultiTether aims at enhancing mapKITE, the total 3D mapping concept based on a tandem UAV-plus-car in which the UAV follow the car by a virtual (waypoint-based) tether, with the capability of including multiple aerial nodes (i.e. UAVs) that cooperate in-flight for corridor mapping missions. This project will therefore research and rehearse on a novel aerial mapping paradigm.

GeoNumerics is a research and development (R&D) intensive small-and-medium-enterprise (SME) company specialised in geomatics and accurate navigation.

RAWFIE (Road-, Air-, and Water- based Future Internet Experimentation) is a project funded by the European Commission (Horizon H2020 programme) under the Future Internet Research Experimentation (FIRE+) initiative that aims at providing research facilities for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The project introduces a unique platform across the space and technology by integrating numerous test beds of unmanned vehicles for research experimentation in vehicular, aerial and maritime environments. The platform will support experimenters with smart tools to conduct and monitor experiments in the domains of IoT, networking, sensing and satellite navigation. The project that is bringing together thirteen partner organizations from eight EU countries.

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). It couples research and innovation with emphasis on excellent science and industrial leadership, and tackles the EU societal challenges. H2020 goal is to ensure that Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.

(Disclaimer: The dissemination of the results reflects only the authors view. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.)

PROJECT DETAILS:

Acronym: MultiTether
Title: Multiple ground-steered, virtually-tethered UAVs for corridor mapping
Period: 2018-03-15 to 2018-12-31
Funding: European Commission (EC) - Horizon 2020 (H2020) through the RAWFIE project (ref. 645220)
Participants: GeoNumerics (ES)
Related links: Results of the RAWFIE Open Call no. 3

H2020 web: https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/
RAWFIE website: http://www.rawfie.eu/

The project MultiTether has been awarded at the 3rd RAWFIE Open Call for projects, in the frame of the RAWFIE Research and Innovation Action (grant agreement. 645220) that has received funding from the European Community's Horizon 2020 Programme.