Chinese researchers implement human-like dialogue in drone technology

A representational image of a UAV. Credit: Zarate123 / Wikimedia Commons

A team of researchers at Northwestern Polytechnical University in China claim to have created a new class of drones that can communicate and coordinate tasks autonomously using natural language, according to Chinese media.  

This capability is facilitated by an open-source large language model, InternLM, which allows unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to process and generate human-like dialogue for interaction among themselves. 

The technology enables drones to ‘discuss’ operational strategies and divide tasks without direct human input, reflecting a form of collaboration typically seen in human teams. 

For example, during a demonstrational search mission, the drones could independently allocate search areas among the group, identify which drone is best suited for specific tasks, and adjust their strategy based on real-time information. 

“The drones showcased key abilities, including humanlike dialogue interaction, proactive environmental awareness, and autonomous entity control,” a mission report on WeChat stated, as quoted in the South China Morning Post

This natural language processing application in UAVs could enhance efficiency in operations such as agricultural monitoring, search and rescue missions, and security surveillance.  

Additionally, the new technology allows for a more intuitive command and control interface where operators can interact with the drones using everyday language, potentially simplifying mission management. 

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