Vision-based fast navigation of micro aerial vehicles

Giuseppe Loianno, Vijay Kumar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


We address the key challenges for autonomous fast flight for Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) in 3-D, cluttered environments. For complete autonomy, the system must identify the vehicle's state at high rates, using either absolute or relative asynchronous on-board sensor measurements, use these state estimates for feedback control, and plan trajectories to the destination. State estimation requires information from different sensors to be fused, exploiting information from different, possible asynchronous sensors at different rates. In this work, we present techniques in the area of planning, control and visual-inertial state estimation for fast navigation of MAVs. We demonstrate how to solve on-board, on a small computational unit, the pose estimation, control and planning problems for MAVs, using a minimal sensor suite for autonomous navigation composed of a single camera and IMU. Additionally, we show that a consumer electronic device such as a smartphone can alternatively be employed for both sensing and computation. Experimental results validate the proposed techniques. Any consumer, provided with a smartphone, can autonomously drive a quadrotor platform at high speed, without GPS, and concurrently build 3-D maps, using a suitably designed app.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMicro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications VIII
EditorsThomas George, Achyut K. Dutta, M. Saif Islam
ISBN (Electronic)9781510600775
StatePublished - 2016
EventMicro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications VIII Conference - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Apr 17 2016Apr 21 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherMicro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications VIII Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Navigation
  • UAVs
  • Visual localization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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