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DARLING: Drone-Based Administration of Remotely Located Instruments and Gears

Drone-based Administration Framework for Servicing of Remotely Located Devices

This drone-based administration framework services and assists Internet of Things remote devices using unmanned aerial vehicles. The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) has enabled the deployment of many low-cost remote devices for automating various tasks in day-to-day life. These devices are battery-operated, making them portable and easy to place virtually anywhere. However, the remote nature of these devices makes their maintenance an arduous task. In addition, routine maintenance tasks, such as replacing batteries, data back-up, and debugging, are performed by humans. Having human workers service the remote devices poses an occupational and environmental hazard, particularly with the devices geographically spread over a wide area.


Researchers at the University of Florida have developed DARLING: Drone-Based Administration of Remotely Located Instruments and Gears, a drone-based administration framework for the servicing of remote devices. Through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), DARLING provides remote Internet of Things (IoT) devices with required maintenance operations, such as battery replacement, data back-up, and more. This automates the maintenance of hard-to-access remote IoT devices in place of on-site human workers.




Drone-based administration framework for servicing remote Internet of Things (IoT) devices, optimizing and anticipating maintenance, and removing the occupational and environmental hazards posed to workers



  • UAVs eliminate the need for human maintenance workers, removing the associated environmental and occupational hazards
  • UAV processor collects remote device diagnostics, making predictions on possible faults and anticipating future maintenance
  • Extends the longevity of remote devices, routinely replenishing device power and data resources
  • DARLING utilizes a machine learning algorithm to carry out maintenance, allowing for efficient resolution of immediate and long-term issues



The DARLING architecture consists of three hardware components: the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), a base station responsible for housing the UAV, and the target remote device serviced by the UAV. The base station makes the high-level decisions in determining appropriate maintenance tasks for the UAVs to perform on certain devices in an appropriate time frame. It provides the UAV with information about the remote device and its general vicinity. The UAV uses this information to self-navigate to the device’s general location. Using either firsthand knowledge about the device’s environment or gathering information via its camera and direct communication with the device, the UAV determines the proper maintenance configuration. The UAV is capable of landing near the remote device to transfer batteries and data between itself and the remote device. Once maintenance is complete, the UAV will continue to service other devices and return to the base station after all of them to charge its own batteries and transfer data to the secure storage. DARLING is capable of routine, reactive, and predictive maintenance. Routine maintenance is schedule-based, while reactive and predictive maintenance is based on AI models.

Patent Information:
App Type: Patent No.: Patent Status:
ORD/UTIL 11,978,023 Issued