Swarm of autonomous tiny drones can localize gas leaks

A gas leak in a large building or at an industrial site is difficult to find. Human firefighters cannot see the gas, so they have to use specific instruments for detecting it. Finding the gas leak may take a long time, while the firefighters are risking their lives.

We have developed a swarm of tiny drones that can autonomously localize gas leaks in indoor environments. The main challenge was to design an Artificial Intelligence that would fit in the drones’ tight computational and memory constraints. In order to tackle this challenge, we have drawn inspiration from nature. This was a joint study with researchers from the University of Barcelona and Harvard University.

Scientific article:

Sniffy Bug: A Fully Autonomous Swarm of Gas-Seeking Nano Quadcopters in Cluttered Environments, by B.P. Duisterhof, S. Li, J. Burgués, V.J. Reddi, and G.C.H.E. de Croon, accepted at IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems 2021 (IROS 2021). – Preprint available at the Arxiv: https://arxiv.org/abs/2107.05490

Video Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_KSX9GOn2P-J5qh90Y-9fw2ODcxYtFap showing how the tiny drones can localize gas leaks in indoor environments.

Photos for use by media: https://surfdrive.surf.nl/files/index.php/s/Y1j0TmYZs3WWOmo

Contact: Prof. dr. Guido de Croon, email: g.c.h.e.decroon@tudelft.nl , telephone: +31152781402