Since our last blog post dedicated to the Micro Indoor drones (MINs) development, our partners from SINTEF have been able to participate in several Laboratory Integration Tests (LITs) and Small Scale Tests (SSTs) and show that the swarm of MINs can now incrementally deploy themselves and provide a localization possibility for First Responders (FRs).

The related scientific paper “An Incrementally Deployed Swarm of MAVs for Localization Using Ultra-Wideband”, which has been published in the 2022 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS) proceedings, presents the general feasibility of SINTEF’s approach using incrementally deployed UWB anchors on micro aerial vehicles for localization tasks.

Developments are currently focused on a more seamless on-site integration of data provided by our project partners. The MAX drone will provide SINTEF partners with a map of the environment that they want to use to better plan the target locations of each MIN, optimizing covered area and deployment time. MACS-SaR provides them with a global reference so that the first responders’ position can be represented on a common map.

Figure 3 Waypoints for a MIN to fly along in a map provided by MAX

At present, the base station has to be measured out by hand and each MIN has to be started and placed in the take-off location manually. To make the setup faster and easier, we are working on a refined base station and automatic startup for the MINs.

Figure 2 Manual, preliminary ground station setup
Figure 4 Prototyping on a MIN-cradle for autonomous startup and charging

Due to unforeseen events, SINTEF was, unfortunately, unable to participate in the 1st Full Scale Exercise (FSX) in Paris, therefore a test in a more realistic and challenging environment remains to be conducted and all partners look forward to meeting again in September for the 2nd round of Small Scale Tests and November for the 2nd Full Scale Exercise in Bilbao, Spain.

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