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Intelligent Aerial "Shepherd Dog"

A few white household robot swept the floor of the lab like sheep wandering aimlessly. A drone hovering in the air, it got the timing down in front of a "sheep". A collision changed the direction of "lamb". The robot had finally moved to a designated area after several times as a sheepdog. This is the scene that the reporter saw at Zhejiang University flight intelligence control lab on October 9th.

With this excellent "sheepdog" technology, the Zhejiang University air robot team (ZMART) won the first place in the 2016 international air robot competition (Asia Pacific division) in Beijing. "In a 400-square-meter square, the smart drone developed by Zhejiang university successfully pushed two sweeping robots over a designated side of the square in 10 minutes." Zhejiang University intelligent system and control institute deputy director Xu Chao said.

Different from the aerial photo drone that has been widely used, the "shepherd" in the  International Aerial Robot Competition is completely independent of the robot of artificial intelligence, it is sure that a series of "shepherd" action ability is independent implementation of airborne equipment. Zhang Yu, the instructor of Science and Engineering of Zhejiang University ,said that "Not rely on others' help such as GPS systems and their positioning and navigation ability, and calculate the science driven" sheep "strategy, this is two most key difficulties in R&D of aerial robot.".

Mr. Xu said that after the order was issued, the drone would fly autonomously, cope with obstacles and drive the sweeping robot. Not only fast, steady, must move, guidance, and like people have global strategy and planning ability, the perfect fusion need air robot navigation and positioning, guidance and control, many fields such as artificial intelligence technology is likely to achieve.

The reporter saw the robot in the flight intelligent control laboratory of Zhejiang University: it weighs about 3 kg, and the dimensions of each direction are not more than 1.25 meters. Zhu jiang, a doctoral student in the school of control science and engineering at Zhejiang University, introduced the equipment on the drone. A laser sensors and an ultrasonic sensor, no dead Angle to detect surrounding obstacles - in the game, the field only has four moving the pillars of the role of "Wolf", if "shepherd" cannot avoid these obstacles in time, is likely to crash. The drone is loaded with a camera that identifies the "sheep" on the ground and identifies its own cruise line to prevent it from flying outside. The drone is also equipped with a small computer to complete the "sheep" strategy.

The international air robot competition has a long history of college students' autonomous aerial robot competition, which began to set up the Asia-Pacific division in 2012 and has been held annually since then. Competition by setting the advance and the practical significance of game challenging task air robot cutting-edge technology progress, each generation of the task will be overcome before entering the next generation task challenges, some tasks require constant challenge even been overcome over the years. "Sheepdog operation" is the seventh generation mission.

Xu said that the robot technology demonstrated in the competition could be used to develop logistics robots and electric cruise robots in the future to change our daily life.
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