Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, are an emerging technology with many applications across a diverse set of industries. Some of these applications, such as delivery of parcels, spare parts, food, medicine and life saving aids, and search and rescue operations require UAVs to interact and communicate directly with humans via voice and other audio means. However, mechanical noise generated from propellers and other noises from surrounding environments make it difficult for UAVs to extract useful sound from noise. UAVs should not acoustically disturb people while operating in populated areas and in defence applications, UAVs need to operate stealthy. In the case of personal and professional video capturing, UAVs should have capabilities to record three dimensional spatial audio without propeller noise to augment the on-board 3D video cameras. While there have been many advances in UAVs in terms of their autonomous operations, mechanics, robotic-control and vision capability, they are still in infancy in terms of their hearing, voice projecting and acoustic sensing capabilities and being able to operate quietly.
This project aims to develop audio and acoustic technology that will enable UAVs to hear, use speech and sound to communicate with humans, acoustically sense the environment and operate stealthily.Outcome of this project will broaden the applications of drones and also enhance the current use in search and rescue, delivery of goods, emergency assistance, media recordings, military and law enforcement operations.