Agile Drone Flight through Narrow Gaps with Onboard Sensing and Computing

From Google+, Davide Scaramuzza presents his last work on perception aware path planning for quadrotors.

“I am happy to share the first agile flight through narrow gaps, which is fully gap-aware and uses only a single forward-facing fisheye camera and IMU! This is work by my great students +Davide Falanga Elias Mueggler, and Matthias Fässler. We estimate the full state by fusing gap detection from a single onboard camera with an IMU. This problem is very difficult as it raises a challenging perception-aware path planning problem for quadrotor control. We solve it by generating a trajectory that considers geometric, dynamic, and perception constraints. During the approach maneuver, the quadrotor actively controls its orientation such that it always faces the gap to allow robust state estimation. During the traverse through the gap, the quadrotor maximizes the distance from the edges of the gap to minimize the risk of collision. The traverse maneuver does not require any visual feedback, which is not available during this phase. The trajectory is continuously replanned during its execution to cope with the varying uncertainty of the state estimate. After the traverse is complete, the quadrotor automatically recovers and locks to a hovering position. Our method does not require any prior knowledge about the position and the orientation of the gap. No external infrastructure, such as a motion-capture system, is needed.”


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