Autonomous navigation in complex environments with a micro-aerial vehicle

by Mr. Shaojie Shen, Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering, University of Pennsylvania

 :  23 Jul 2013 (Tue)
 :  3:00pm - 4:00pm
Venue  :  Rm 4475 (lift 25/26), Academic Complex, HKUST


In this talk, I will discuss approaches that enable a quadrotor to autonomously navigate and explore complex indoor and outdoor environments. Micro-aerial vehicles (MAVs), and in our case quadrotors, offer exceptional 3D mobility over ground platforms, making them particularly suitable for search-and-rescue missions in which the vehicle must be able to navigate through complex 3D environments. In such missions, especially in response to emergency or disaster situations, it may not be safe for a human to enter the environment and therefore the MAV must be able to operate fully autonomously without requiring any human operator commands or external infrastructure. This talk summarizes a sequence of projects that move towards the goal of fully autonomous MAVs and will consist of two parts: (1) algorithms and systems design that enable autonomous exploration of indoor and outdoor 3D environments with a quadrotor equipped with a laser scanner, an IMU, a GPS receiver, and limited onboard computation; and (2) a vision-based state estimation and trajectory control methodology that greatly expands the capable operational environments of our quadrotor platform and enables high-speed maneuvers at speeds up to 4m/s. Extensive experimental evaluations are presented throughout the talk.

Shaojie Shen is a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests include autonomous navigation of ground and aerial robots in complex environments with focus on state estimation and control. His work on autonomous micro-aerial vehicle has been covered by major media outlets such as ABC, The New Yorker, and Discovery Channel.