Boeing's Insitu uses swarms of Solos for autonomous mapping

In this episode, the Roswell Flight Test Crew speaks with John Leipper, the Solutions Architecture Manager for drone manufacturer Insitu. At the Future Farm Drone Rodeo in Pendleton, Oregon, Insitu conducted a drone swarm demonstration using three 3DR Solos – all controlled by a single pilot using a computer. Of course, to stay in compliance with FAA regulations, an individual pilot for each aircraft was on standby should immediate human intervention be required. The long-term goal is to make drones more efficient through automation, requiring less direct human input to gather data more quickly than would be possible with a single drone. Such a control system would also allow the drones to be operated remotely via the Internet or other networks.

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Comment by Terry Well on August 21, 2017 at 9:33pm

It's amazing! I am wondering what PC software you use for flying the drones simultaneously? Is it available online? How do you connect all the three drones to the laptop at the same time? Thank you!

Comment by Olivier on August 22, 2017 at 11:02am

Just a quick guess here and could be wrong, but they are likely using their  custom version of either Mission Planner, APM Planner 2 or QGroundControl,  given they are running Arducopter. All support swarming and customization to various degrees, with open source code available online. See for instance http://ardupilot.org/planner/docs/swarming.html

Comment by Terry Well on August 22, 2017 at 5:17pm

Thank  you, Olivier. I suppose they are using their own software because the screen is not familiar with neither Mission Planner, APM Planner 2 nor QGroundControl.

Comment by Auturgy on August 26, 2017 at 3:14pm
InSitu wrote an ArduPilot plugin for their own gcs software. I don't know if multi-vehicle is baseline or a custom/developmental extension. Inexa is commercially available.
https://insitu.com/information-delivery/inexa-solutions/inexa-control
Comment by Terry Well on August 28, 2017 at 2:09am

Thank you, Auturgy for your answer.

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