Skoltech is launching a swarm of drones using a "bow and arrow"

Scientists from the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology have developed a method for controlling a swarm of drones using

virtual reality. The research results were presented at the XXI IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality.

To manage multiple devices, the operatoruses a virtual reality helmet, gloves with markers and a special tactile display. The developers note that even an unprepared user can handle the controls. To do this, it is enough to direct each device in the right direction with the help of a series of shots from a virtual bow.

Controlling a swarm of drones using virtual reality. Video: Skoltech

The actions of the "archer" are read using the systemmotion capture from multiple IR cameras that capture the positions of gloves and drones. The tactile display provides feedback that shows how tight the string is. By controlling the tension force, the user can adjust the trajectory and flight range. At the same time, the line along which the drone will be sent is displayed in real time on the helmet screen.

Tactile display for evaluating tension force. Image: Skoltech

When the operator opens his fist, the system readsthis movement is what launches the drone. Having reached a predetermined point, he switches to an autonomous control mode corresponding to his mission. Such swarm drones can be used for rescue operations, search for forest fires, monitoring the environment, water bodies or the state of infrastructure.

The advantage of using ballistictrajectory modeled on the flight of an arrow lies in the fact that for a person such a trajectory seems quite natural, which allows you to quickly deploy a group of drones, preventing them from colliding with obstacles.

Ekaterina Dorzhieva, Skoltech graduate and first author of the study

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Cover image: Artistic illustration of a drone array. Source: Pavel Odinev/Skoltech