SFly: Swarm of Micro Flying Robots

Achtelik, Markus ; Achtelik, Michael ; Brunet, Yorick ; Chli, Margarita ; Chatzichristofis, Savvas A. (2012)

Working Paper

The SFly project is an EU-funded project, with the goal to create a swarm of autonomous vision controlled micro aerial vehicles. The mission in mind is that a swarm of MAV’s autonomously maps out an unknown environment, computes optimal surveillance positions and places the MAV’s there and then locates radio beacons in this environment. The scope of the work includes contributions on multiple different levels ranging from theoretical foundations to hardware design and embedded programming. One of the contributions is the development of a new MAV, a hexacopter, equipped with enough processing power for onboard computer vision. A major contribution is the development of monocular visual SLAM that runs in real-time onboard of the MAV. The visual SLAM results are fused with IMU measurements and are used to stabilize and control the MAV. This enables autonomous flight of the MAV, without the need of a data link to a ground station. Within this scope novel analytical solutions for fusing IMU and vision measurements have been derived. In addition to the realtime local SLAM, an offline dense mapping process has been developed. For this the MAV’s are equipped with a payload of a stereo camera system. The dense environment map is used to compute optimal surveillance positions for a swarm of MAV’s. For this an optimiziation technique based on cognitive adaptive optimization has been developed. Finally, the MAV’s have been equipped with radio transceivers and a method has been developed to locate radio beacons in the observed environment.

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