Automated condition monitoring in networked production environments using autonomous indoor drones

The aim of the research project 'SmartDroneWatch' is to increase efficiency and safety in production operations by integrating a fully autonomous drone-based monitoring system into industrial production environments. Here, the focus is on analyzing the application potential of localization and collision avoidance technologies as well as data transmission standards.

Initial situation:

Despite advanced surveillance systems, comprehensive capture of information about the current state of production operations remains a challenge in the industry. Data gaps in digital twins often need to be manually verified by an operator, particularly in error detection and troubleshooting. This applies to various application areas such as automated manufacturing systems, object localization, and emergency stops of driverless transport systems.

Solution approach:

The following steps are planned to achieve the objectives:

  • Conceptual development (requirements analysis, technology analysis, drone conceptualization)
  • Drone and software development (design of system components, drone assembly, interface conception and setup, collision avoidance, frontend development, digital twin)
  • Benchmarking (data transmission standards, tracking solutions, collision avoidance)
  • Validation (construction of demonstrator, testing and validation of the concept)

Expected result:

As a result of the research project, a drone platform will be installed in the demonstration factory in Aachen to test and demonstrate the potential applications. The platform will be modularly designed to easily replace and compare the necessary systems and sensors for safe flight. This includes components of telemetry (5G, WIFI6), localization (UWB), and collision avoidance (stereo camera).

Benefits for the target group:

The drone-based surveillance system contributes to increased efficiency and safety in production operations by monitoring the entire environment in real-time. The development of powerful object detection algorithms enables a wide range of applications for various use cases and industries. Integration into the IT infrastructure can effectively optimize response time in case of process disruptions.

Topic Area

  • Production Management

Research Focus

  • Produktionsregelung

FIR Navigator

  • Data-Based Shopfloor Management
  • JRF Guiding Topic

    • Society & Digitization
    • Industry & Environment


    Funding no.
    Funding information

    The 'SmartDroneWatch' project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport as part of the 'Innovative Air Mobility' funding guideline (IML).