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Drones took to the skys. Where are they going? – III

A virtual backhoe can be operated in a real to life environment using simulation that merges HIL, Hardware in the Loop, SIL, Software in the Loop, with HuiL, Human in the Loop. Image credit: Mevea

Drones are being used by industry, municipalities and institutions to create high resolution maps of an area. These maps are digital representations that can be used in a variety of situations.

Mevea has started to use drones to recreate in VR the future operation fields of their machines (backhoes). These digital maps are used in the specification phase by the designer team to simulate the behaviour of the machine in the real (virtual) environment and furthermore to provide customers the feeling of using them even before the machines are built (hence allowing a fine tuning of their specs) as well as being trained in the virtual space. Watch the clip and notice that the virtual landscape, environment, is true to life since it has been created through drones filming.

The simulation leverages on the existence, through the design process, of the digital twin of the machine. It is this digital twin that operates in the virtual environment derived from the drone filming.

In the future one could even imagine a scenario where drones are becoming part of the simulation process in real time. In the case of Mevea (I don’t know if they are thinking of pursuing this!) it could mean that the digital twin receives the operator instruction (like move left, use the how to dig a trench in this place…) and these commands are translated into positioning instruction to the drone in real time so that the operator can see what is going on at that specific time, like the presence of a vehicle in the area and how avoidance measures can be effective.

Notice how, in this example, we have a mixture of real and virtual, of augmentation  and simulated situation.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.