Visual Collaboration Leader-Follower UAV-Formation for Indoor Exploration

Nikolaos Evangeliou, Dimitris Chaikalis, Athanasios Tsoukalas, Anthony Tzes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


UAVs operating in a leader-follower formation demand the knowledge of the relative pose between the collaborating members. This necessitates the RF-communication of this information which increases the communication latency and can easily result in lost data packets. In this work, rather than relying on this autopilot data exchange, a visual scheme using passive markers is presented. Each formation-member carries passive markers in a RhOct configuration. These markers are visually detected and the relative pose of the members is on-board determined, thus eliminating the need for RF-communication. A reference path is then evaluated for each follower that tracks the leader and maintains a constant distance between the formation-members. Experimental studies show a mean position detection error (5 × 5 × 10cm) or less than 0.0031% of the available workspace [0.5 up to 5m, 50.43° × 38.75° Field of View (FoV)]. The efficiency of the suggested scheme against varying delays are examined in these studies, where it is shown that a delay up to 1.25s can be tolerated for the follower to track the leader as long as the latter one remains within its FoV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number777535
JournalFrontiers in Robotics and AI
StatePublished - Jan 4 2022


  • drone
  • leader follower
  • relative localization
  • swarm
  • UAV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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