Swarm Exploration with Pocketdrones

The aim of this project is to investigate and design an autonomous swarm of Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs)to do multi-robot exploration of an unstructured indoor environment. These so called pocket drones are small quadroters with a mass in the order of 20 grams and a diameter of 10 cm. It can maneuve ritself through small corridors, windows and can reach different levels of a building. A swarm of these pocket drones is ideal for the fast exploration of a building during a search and rescue mission for instance.

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However, these pocket drones have strict limitations on their on-board energy, sensing, and processing capabilities. The challenge is to combine the needed functionalities, in terms of obstacle avoidance, exploration, and coordination with the other drones. Inspiration can be drawn from honeybees, since an individual bee does not have many capabilities just by itself, but a swarm of them is able to explore an entire field of flowers. This inspiration will help to develop efficient algorithms for multi-robot exploration with pocket drones.
There are aspects and challenges to be considered for the design of a swarm of pocket drones. Low-level navigation, which stands for simple behaviors as drift stabilization and obstacle avoidance, is essential to make the MAV fly. This will be executed with an onboard stereo vision system. The emphasis here is on efficiency, as the pocket drone needs to do so much more than only these rudimentary tasks. The pocket drone also needs to know its environment and should decide where to explore next, which are more high-level navigation tasks. Here the challenge is to design efficient localization and mapping algorithms for limited on-board processing of the pocket drone based on its vision system.
The last challenge is multi-robot coordination, which enhances the pocket drones performance by enhancing their individual abilities as a swarm. The challenge is to enable the drones to share the generated map and locations and decision-making in task coordination with limited communication and sensing capabilities. Since no central computer is used, the focus is on decentralized optimal control as the drones must make decisions themselves to benefit the overall search mission.

2018

  • [DOI] G. J. J. {van Dalen}, K. McGuire, and G. {de Croon}, “Visual homing for micro aerial vehicles using scene familiarity,” Unmanned systems, vol. 06, iss. 02, p. 119–130, 2018.
    [Bibtex]
    @article{ca31d3aa76e44677bae72514f696f67d,
    author = {{van Dalen}, G.J.J. and Kimberly McGuire and {de Croon}, Guido},
    day = {8},
    doi = {10.1142/S230138501850005X},
    issn = {2301-3850},
    journal = {Unmanned Systems},
    keywords = {Visual Homing, Scene familiarity, MAV},
    language = {English},
    month = {June},
    number = {02},
    pages = {119--130},
    publisher = {World Scientific Publishing},
    title = {Visual Homing for Micro Aerial Vehicles Using Scene Familiarity},
    url = {https://research.tudelft.nl/en/publications/visual-homing-for-micro-aerial-vehicles-using-scene-familiarity},
    volume = {06},
    year = {2018}
    }
  • [DOI] M. Coppola, {. N. }. McGuire, {. Y. W. }. Scheper, and {. C. H. E. }. {de Croon}, “On-board communication-based relative localization for collision avoidance in micro air vehicle teams,” Autonomous robots, vol. 42, iss. 8, p. 1787–1805, 2018.
    [Bibtex]
    @article{0ee50b7413ad4992a0e3219ab9403636,
    author = {Mario Coppola and McGuire, {Kimberly N.} and Scheper, {Kirk Y.W.} and {de Croon}, {Guido C.H.E.}},
    doi = {10.1007/s10514-018-9760-3},
    issn = {0929-5593},
    journal = {Autonomous Robots},
    keywords = {Autonomous flight, Collision avoidance, Indoor exploration, Micro Air Vehicles, Relative localization},
    language = {English},
    number = {8},
    pages = {1787–1805},
    publisher = {Springer},
    title = {On-board communication-based relative localization for collision avoidance in Micro Air Vehicle teams},
    url = {https://research.tudelft.nl/en/publications/on-board-communication-based-relative-localization-for-collision-},
    volume = {42},
    year = {2018}
    }

2019

  • [DOI] {K. N. }. McGuire, {G. C. H. E. }. {de Croon}, and K. Tuyls, “A comparative study of bug algorithms for robot navigation,” Robotics and autonomous systems, vol. 121, 2019.
    [Bibtex]
    @article{bf7ddfc05a0747918bd6179bfe8c186f,
    author = {McGuire, {K. N.} and {de Croon}, {G. C.H.E.} and K. Tuyls},
    day = {1},
    doi = {10.1016/j.robot.2019.103261},
    issn = {0921-8890},
    journal = {Robotics and Autonomous Systems},
    keywords = {Bug algorithms, Comparative study, Indoor navigation, Limited sensing, Robotic navigation},
    language = {English},
    month = {November},
    publisher = {Elsevier},
    title = {A comparative study of bug algorithms for robot navigation},
    url = {https://research.tudelft.nl/en/publications/a-comparative-study-of-bug-algorithms-for-robot-navigation},
    volume = {121},
    year = {2019}
    }
  • [DOI] K. McGuire, C. {de Wagter}, K. Tuyls, and {H. J. }. Kappen, “Minimal navigation solution for a swarm of tiny flying robots to explore an unknown environment,” Science robotics, vol. 4, iss. 35, 2019.
    [Bibtex]
    @article{7e3210b7eccd458d93c3d2c989d36285,
    author = {Kimberly McGuire and {de Wagter}, Christophe and K. Tuyls and Kappen, {H. J.}},
    doi = {10.1126/scirobotics.aaw9710},
    issn = {2470-9476},
    journal = {Science Robotics},
    language = {English},
    number = {35},
    publisher = {American Association for the Advancement of Science},
    title = {Minimal navigation solution for a swarm of tiny flying robots to explore an unknown environment},
    url = {https://research.tudelft.nl/en/publications/minimal-navigation-solution-for-a-swarm-of-tiny-flying-robots-to-},
    volume = {4},
    year = {2019}
    }
  • [DOI] K. McGuire, “Indoor swarm exploration with pocket drones,” PhD Thesis, 2019.
    [Bibtex]
    @phdthesis{48ed7edc934e4dfcb35cfe04d55caee1,
    author = {Kimberly McGuire},
    doi = {10.4233/uuid:48ed7edc-934e-4dfc-b35c-fe04d55caee1},
    isbn = {978-94-6182-976-4},
    keywords = {Micro Aerial Vehicle, Swarm robotics, Autonomous navigation, Pocket Drones, Stereo Vision, Bug Algorithms, Optical flow},
    language = {English},
    school = {Delft University of Technology},
    title = {Indoor swarm exploration with Pocket Drones},
    url = {https://research.tudelft.nl/en/publications/indoor-swarm-exploration-with-pocket-drones},
    year = {2019}
    }
  • [DOI] S. {van der Helm}, M. Coppola, {. N. }. McGuire, and {. C. H. E. }. {de Croon}, “On-board range-based relative localization for micro air vehicles in indoor leader–follower flight,” Autonomous robots, vol. 44, iss. 3-4, p. 415–441, 2019.
    [Bibtex]
    @article{44c98152cbe9434ea632253836f1a92f,
    author = {{van der Helm}, Steven and Mario Coppola and McGuire, {Kimberly N.} and {de Croon}, {Guido C.H.E.}},
    doi = {10.1007/s10514-019-09843-6},
    issn = {0929-5593},
    journal = {Autonomous Robots},
    keywords = {Autonomous flight, Indoor, Leader–follower, Micro air vehicles, Relative localization},
    language = {English},
    number = {3-4},
    pages = {415--441},
    publisher = {Springer},
    title = {On-board range-based relative localization for micro air vehicles in indoor leader–follower flight},
    url = {https://research.tudelft.nl/en/publications/on-board-range-based-relative-localization-for-micro-air-vehicles},
    volume = {44},
    year = {2019}
    }

2020

  • [DOI] M. Coppola, {. N. }. McGuire, C. {De Wagter}, and {. C. H. E. }. {de Croon}, “A survey on swarming with micro air vehicles: fundamental challenges and constraints,” Frontiers in robotics and ai, vol. 7, 2020.
    [Bibtex]
    @article{6f7981dc9bd8476c9113bafb84540758,
    author = {Mario Coppola and McGuire, {Kimberly N.} and {De Wagter}, Christophe and {de Croon}, {Guido C.H.E.}},
    day = {25},
    doi = {10.3389/frobt.2020.00018},
    issn = {2296-9144},
    journal = {Frontiers In Robotics and AI},
    keywords = {autonomous, challenges, drones, MAV, micro air vehicles, review, robustness, swarm},
    language = {English},
    month = {February},
    publisher = {Frontiers Media},
    title = {A Survey on Swarming With Micro Air Vehicles: Fundamental Challenges and Constraints},
    url = {https://research.tudelft.nl/en/publications/a-survey-on-swarming-with-micro-air-vehicles-fundamental-challeng},
    volume = {7},
    year = {2020}
    }

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