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TUM Department of Informatics
Technical University of Munich

Technical University of Munich

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Contact: Jakob Engel Jörg Stückler

In this research project we will explore visual navigation methods for Nanocopters, extremely small Quadrocopter with a flight-weight of less than 50g. Possible future applications are e.g. exploration of a collapsed building after a natural desaster, surveillance and inspection of difficult-to-reach areas, or simply as personal flying camera, to take pictures from a fully new perspective. In contrast to regular quadrocopters with a flight-weight of above 500g, nanocopters can safely be used indoors and close to people, can fly through even smaller gaps or windows, and - acting fully atonomously - can easily be deployed as a swarm.

The extraoridnarily small payload of such platforms poses new challenges, in particular as it imposes heavy constraints on the on-board sensor capabilities. Monocular nano-cameras - being lightweight, cheap and small, while at the same time providing rich information about the environment - are an ideal choice. In this project we will focus on off-board computations, i.e., perform costly computations on a ground-based laptop.

The aim of this research project is two-fold:

  • Develop suitable hardware prototypes (nanocopter + nano-camera), and corresponding software interfaces to facilitate visual navigation with off-board computation
  • Adapt and develop monocular visual navigation / SLAM methods suited for the high agility and comparatively low sensor quality of such a system.

This project is embedded in and supported by the Software Campus.


We provide some open-source code for the Crazyflie; for more details see the corresponding paper (see below). The Code is on GitHub


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Conference and Workshop Papers
[]Visual-Inertial Navigation for a Camera-Equipped 25g Nano-Quadrotor (O. Dunkley, J. Engel, J. Sturm and D. Cremers), In IROS2014 Aerial Open Source Robotics Workshop, 2014.  [bibtex] [pdf] [video]
Other Publications
[]Visual Inertial Control of a Nano-Quadrotor (Oliver Montague Welton Dunkley), Master's thesis, Technical University Munich, 2014.  [bibtex] [pdf]
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