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Sensors 2016, 16(8), 1269; doi:10.3390/s16081269

A Multi-Robot Sense-Act Approach to Lead to a Proper Acting in Environmental Incidents

1
Centre for Automation and Robotics, CSIC-UPM, Arganda del Rey, Madrid 28500, Spain
2
Centre for Automation and Robotics, UPM-CSIC, José Gutierrez Abascal 2, Madrid 28006, Spain
3
Department of Systems Engineering & Automation, Carlos III University, Av. Universidad 30, Leganés 28911, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vittorio M. N. Passaro
Received: 31 May 2016 / Revised: 3 August 2016 / Accepted: 8 August 2016 / Published: 10 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotic Sensory Systems for Environment Protection and Conservation)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [7208 KB, uploaded 10 August 2016]   |  

Abstract

Many environmental incidents affect large areas, often in rough terrain constrained by natural obstacles, which makes intervention difficult. New technologies, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, may help address this issue due to their suitability to reach and easily cover large areas. Thus, unmanned aerial vehicles may be used to inspect the terrain and make a first assessment of the affected areas; however, nowadays they do not have the capability to act. On the other hand, ground vehicles rely on enough power to perform the intervention but exhibit more mobility constraints. This paper proposes a multi-robot sense-act system, composed of aerial and ground vehicles. This combination allows performing autonomous tasks in large outdoor areas by integrating both types of platforms in a fully automated manner. Aerial units are used to easily obtain relevant data from the environment and ground units use this information to carry out interventions more efficiently. This paper describes the platforms and sensors required by this multi-robot sense-act system as well as proposes a software system to automatically handle the workflow for any generic environmental task. The proposed system has proved to be suitable to reduce the amount of herbicide applied in agricultural treatments. Although herbicides are very polluting, they are massively deployed on complete agricultural fields to remove weeds. Nevertheless, the amount of herbicide required for treatment is radically reduced when it is accurately applied on patches by the proposed multi-robot system. Thus, the aerial units were employed to scout the crop and build an accurate weed distribution map which was subsequently used to plan the task of the ground units. The whole workflow was executed in a fully autonomous way, without human intervention except when required by Spanish law due to safety reasons. View Full-Text
Keywords: multi-robot sense-act system; collaborative robots; mixed robot fleet; site-specific treatment; precision agriculture multi-robot sense-act system; collaborative robots; mixed robot fleet; site-specific treatment; precision agriculture
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Conesa-Muñoz, J.; Valente, J.; del Cerro, J.; Barrientos, A.; Ribeiro, A. A Multi-Robot Sense-Act Approach to Lead to a Proper Acting in Environmental Incidents. Sensors 2016, 16, 1269.

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