MRS Summer School: over 150 students learned to fly drones at FEE

For students

More than 150 students from a number of countries attended the Summer School of Multirobotic Systems at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of CTU this year, where they learned how to program drones. The event took place from 3 to 6 July at the FEE building on Charles Square in Prague, and on 7 July it culminated with outdoor challenges on Císařský ostrov.

During the four "school" days, students listened to lectures by leading experts and tried programming cooperative drones, the development of which is the focus of a group of multi-robotic systems from the Department of Cybernetics of FEL CTU.

The head of the group Associate Professor Martin Saska pointed out that the main star of this year's program was Dario Floreano from EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland - one of the most famous roboticists in Europe, whose research focuses on the study of nature-inspired drone swarms. Other notable speakers included Javier Alonso-Mora of Delft University of Technology, author of groundbreaking research in the field of cognitive cooperative robots.

The students also analyzed procedures for effective collaboration between robots. A key stage was testing in the Gazebo computer simulator, which allowed them to verify the algorithms used. They then tested their functionality in the Flying Robot Competition on Císařský ostrov. While last year's summer school participants were tasked with taking pictures of various elements of the energy transmission system with a camera, this year's assignment was to inspect photovoltaic power plants.

"Most of the participants were PhD students and you could see the passion and competitiveness with which they set about the task. Approximately 2/3 of the teams submitted a solution that was able to find a plan for inspecting the high tension poles, on an assignment they were not familiar with at the time of submission," said Dr. Tomas Baca of the Multirobotic Systems Group. He stressed that this is a very good result. "And it shows a good ability to generalize and prepare for the unknown. During the competition, as it is a tradition, we did not crash or smash a single drone," the scientist stated. 

Dr. Báča also explained that the solution was tested in two stages. The first was to complete a real task, just on the Císařský ostrov, and the second was a virtual "duel". "It was bigger, more complex, but it was only simulated," the expert noted. While the first category was won by the DAM(n) team, the Airborne Auditors team scored points in the simulated one.

The Summer School of Multirobotic Systems was held for the fourth time this year. In 2021 it was not held due to the covid-19 pandemic, in 2020 it was held in a hybrid form.
Author of the photos: Tereza Čechová 

Video: Multi-robot Systems Group FEE CTU, YouTube

Responsible person Ing. Mgr. Radovan Suk