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Gesture-Controlled Aerial Robot Formation for Human-Swarm Interaction in Safety Monitoring Applications

2024-03-22 16:39:13
Vít Krátký, Giuseppe Silano, Matouš Vrba, Christos Papaioannidis, Ioannis Mademlis, Robert Pěnička, Ioannis Pitas, Martin Saska


This paper presents a formation control approach for contactless gesture-based Human-Swarm Interaction (HSI) between a team of multi-rotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and a human worker. The approach is intended for monitoring the safety of human workers, especially those working at heights. In the proposed dynamic formation scheme, one UAV acts as the leader of the formation and is equipped with sensors for human worker detection and gesture recognition. The follower UAVs maintain a predetermined formation relative to the worker's position, thereby providing additional perspectives of the monitored scene. Hand gestures allow the human worker to specify movements and action commands for the UAV team and initiate other mission-related commands without the need for an additional communication channel or specific markers. Together with a novel unified human detection and tracking algorithm, human pose estimation approach and gesture detection pipeline, the proposed approach forms a first instance of an HSI system incorporating all these modules onboard real-world UAVs. Simulations and field experiments with three UAVs and a human worker in a mock-up scenario showcase the effectiveness and responsiveness of the proposed approach.

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