Air-Ground Collaborative Surveillance with Human-Portable Hardware
Coordination of unmanned aerial and ground vehicles (UAVs and UGVs) is immensely useful in a variety of surveillance and rescue applications, as the vehicles’ complementary strengths provide operating teams with enhanced mission capabilities. While many of today’s systems require independent control stations, necessitating arduous manual coordination between multiple operators, this paper presents a multi-robot collaboration system, jointly developed by iRobot Corporation and Carnegie Mellon University, which features a unified interface for controlling multiple unmanned vehicles. Semi-autonomous subtasks can be directly executed through this interface, including: single-click automatic visual target tracking, waypoint sequences, area search, and geo-location of tracked points of interest. Demonstrations of these capabilities on widely-deployed commercial unmanned vehicles are presented, including the use of UAVs as a communication relay for multi-kilometer, non-line-of-sight operation of UGVs.