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S’pore researchers hope use of UAVs in games will create interest in R&D

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been gaining popularity in recent years as they are increasingly used for commercial, research and military purposes. By using UAVs in games, researchers are hoping to create interest in research and technology.

SINGAPORE: Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been gaining popularity in recent years as they are increasingly used for commercial, research and military purposes.

At the Singapore Airshow on Wednesday, Singapore researchers showed off the lighter side of drones by having them perform.

Using a unique algorithm which traces the strokes written on a tablet, commands are sent to the UAV, which then replicates the character.

In a scenario resembling a computer game, three drones circling a treasure in the middle will try to stop intruders from infiltrating.

By using UAVs in games, researchers are hoping to create interest in research and technology.

Professor Low Kin Huat from Nanyang Technological University’s School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering said: "The reason I want to use interaction game, by using UAV, is to show people that research is fun, R&D (research & development) is fun.

“Even (though) we know that behind the research there's a lot of hard work, a lot of effort, but by putting this interactively, the player would know and they will like it."

Ong Shin Rong, project manager for future systems and technology at Singapore’s Ministry of Defence, said: “If you have a humanitarian situation or you have a disaster where the area is not accessible to humans, these (UAVs) are things that can respond very quickly and be able to do search and rescue.

“And these missions are time critical, so if you are able to control a network of UAVs, then you're able to spread out further and you're able to search more thoroughly, and you may find what you need within a shorter period of time.”

Even though UAVs can now be bought off the shelf, the ones at the airshow were built from scratch by Singapore researchers over three years

The project was funded by the Defence Ministry, which is hoping to develop expertise in this area.

Ms Ong said: “No one will sell you some guidance and control software that's so sophisticated, that's able to allow the UAVs to communicate with each other and to allow the system to control so many flying things together in one setting.

“This is something that you can only develop yourself and then be able to exact the control that you need for these systems.”

The Singapore Airshow will open to the public this weekend, February 15 and 16.

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