Issue 54 Uncrewed Sytems Technology Feb/Mar 2024 uWare uOne UUV l Radio and telemetry l Rheinmetall Canada medevacs l UUVs insight DelltaHawk engine l IMU focus l Skygauge in operation l CES 2024 report l Blueflite l Hypersonic flight

20 Deploying multiple types of uncrewed vehicle systems at scale and managing them from remote facilities over diverse wireless networks creates some knotty communications problems. Chief among them is the overhead associated with protocols originally developed for wired networks – protocols such as the Data Distribution Service (DDS), for example, which serves as the communications middleware in the popular open-source Robot Operating System, ROS 2. Overhead is all the data that must be sent over a network to ensure the information that the sender and recipient want to exchange (the payload) gets to the right place. Clearly, some overhead is essential, but too much can slow communications and increase energy consumption significantly. ‘Zero network overhead’ To solve this problem, Angelo Corsaro and three colleagues – Julien Enoch, Olivier Hecart and Eric Boasson – began creating a new and fundamentally different protocol, called Zenoh, and set up the ZettaScale Technology company to develop it. Thanks to their efforts, and of those who have joined the team since, the company and adoption of the protocol have grown rapidly. It was recently announced that the developers of ROS 2 decided to adopt Zenoh as the core communications software after testing showed this will reduce the energy required for data transfer within the system by 60-90%. The name Zenoh comes from ‘zero network overhead’, which is not meant literally. Corsaro had been involved with the standardisation of DDS from the early 2000s, serving as co-chair of the DDS Working Group until 2015, when he resigned over what he calls a “divergence of perspectives” on issues such as overhead, which spurred his efforts to develop Zenoh. “I felt that I was the only one who cared about solving the problems we had, and the others just didn’t want to talk about the problems so as not to scare customers or users. But, for me, the point was that engineers are supposed to solve problems, and before long you will be hit by what you have hidden from users,” he says. ZettaScale’s CEO tells Peter Donaldson how Zenoh is taking off in the world of robotics Data in motion February/March 2024 | Uncrewed Systems Technology Small, uncrewed vehicles with limited computing resources that also operate in edge networks need communications systems that impose a minimum of overhead, and with the Zenoh protocol now available for the ROS 2 operating system they now have that option. (Image courtesy of US DoD)