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Visitors to the EXPO 2020 World Expo in Dubai will be able to see a total of six drones representing various robotic projects in a rotating exhibition called Robot's 100th Birthday from 23 October to 14 November 2021. The aerial robots from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering (FEL) of CTU will thus commemorate 100 years since the word "robot" was first heard in Karel Čapek's play R.U.R. in the Czech pavilion.

The Multirobotic Systems (MRS) group, based at the Department of Cybernetics of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the Czech Technical University in Prague, uses a globally unique technology of very precise helicopter control, which is proving to be significantly the most reliable and successful of all competing solutions. The ability to fly very accurately and therefore safely, is crucial for deployment in a wide range of situations, especially in confined spaces and building interiors. The team has made significant progress in the development of these technologies over several years of intensive research in collaboration with the world's leading laboratories. Today's drones can move autonomously along a predetermined safe route while responding to unexpected obstacles.

In the rotating exhibition of the Czech pavilion, the Multirobotic Systems group from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of CTU together with the Packeta group will also present a pilot project for autonomous delivery of parcels with the help of a drone. The project, which is undergoing testing, could represent the future of parcel delivery. The drones could cooperate with other robots being developed by the Czech company Zásilkovna, which belongs to the Packeta group.

"We are honoured that through the Multirobotic Systems Group our faculty will be represented at EXPO 2020, the world's largest showcase of future technologies. The research team led by Associate Professor Martin Saska represents the world's leading workplace in the development of autonomously controlled drones and I am particularly pleased that not only doctoral students but also master's and even bachelor's students are given space," said Petr Páta, Dean of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at CTU. The latest example of student involvement in research activities is a drone with a fire extinguishing capsule which is designed to fight fires in multi-storey buildings. As part of his bachelor's thesis, Vojtěch Nydrle, a student of the Cybernetics and Robotics programme, designed and assembled it in cooperation with FEL researchers.

The invitation for MRS to the World EXPO, which is being held in an Arab country for the first time in its 170-year history, has its logic. "It was in the United Arab Emirates that we first established ourselves in an international context. We took part in the prestigious Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC) in Abu Dhabi in 2017 and won first and second place in our respective disciplines. We were able to build on this success in the next competition in 2020, when we were also declared the overall winner of the competition," said Assoc. Prof. Martin Saska, who leads a team of about 30 roboticists. The MBZIRC competition is considered the unofficial world championship of drones.

The MRS group continues to be very active in the UAE. This spring, it tested a swarm of drones in the local desert for deployment in humanitarian Search & Rescue operations in the search for lost or injured persons. In collaboration with a local industry partner, MRS researchers are also exploring the possibility of involving drones in firefighting the interiors of skyscrapers in the UAE.

Mapping historic interiors, transferring packages and fighting fires in high-rise buildings

The drones that "flew" to the Dubai EXPO represent six different robotic projects.

It is designed to catch other hostile drones. EAGLE.ONE can shoot a net at a distance of a few meters, which catches the intruder in the airspace and delivers it to the designated place without damage. The fully autonomous drone offers a wide range of applications in airport security, critical infrastructure and industrial site protection or privacy protection.

As part of the world's unique Dronument project, drones are recording rare historical assets and assisting conservationists in their restoration. A formation of two unmanned helicopters, one carrying a camera and the other a light source, reaches hard-to-reach and poorly lit places such as domes, balconies, statues, stained glass windows and other objects that would otherwise require scaffolding to explore.

DARPA Subterranean Challenge
As part of the CTU-CRAS-NORLAB team, the MRSX500 platform along with the world's best seven robotics teams, participated in the final round of a competition organized by the U. S. government agency DARPA. In the competition, drones work with ground robots to explore underground complexes and search for designated objects or people. It is their early detection that determines success in the competition and subsequently in rescue practice in confined underground spaces such as caves or garages.

DOFEC ( Discharging Of Fire Extinguishing Capsules )
An autonomous drone specifically developed for the purpose of firefighting in high-rise and multi-storey buildings. The drone detects and locates the fire using an infrared camera. It then fires a capsule with a penetrating bullet to the fire site and the bullet breaks the window. The gas in the capsule then extinguishes the fire. The possibilities of using autonomous drones in firefighting are quite promising. In addition to the aforementioned firefighting itself, they can help in locating people or dangerous objects (e.g. gas cylinders). The experimental intervention of a drone with a capsule during a fire is shown in the following video.

The drone was deployed at the Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC) 2017 in Abu Dhabi to locate and land on a marked moving vehicle, and in a task where a squadron of drones had to find and collect various coloured objects scattered in space. The MRS group dominated during this task.

It was developed for the MBZIRC competition in 2020, one of the tasks (Challenge 2) was to build a wall of different coloured mock-up bricks using a squadron of autonomous drones together with an autonomous ground robot. This challenge examined the use of drones in the construction of high-rise buildings. The MRST650 is also capable of carrying other objects such as delivering small packages or medicine to clients. Thus, drones could help streamline the delivery of packages to end recipients in the future. This service would suitably complement the infrastructure of the company Zásilkovna, which is exhibiting together with us in the Czech pavilion.

Further information about the participation of the Multirobotic Systems Group of FEL CTU and other parts of the Czech Technical University at EXPO 2020 can be found via the link www.

Source: CUT in Prague

Létající roboti z ČVUT na EXPO v Dubaji -