System for deployment of groups of unmanned micro aerial vehicles in GPS-denied environments using onboard visual relative localization

Martin Saska, Tomas Baca, Justin Thomas, Jan Chudoba, Libor Preucil, Tomas Krajnik, Jan Faigl, Giuseppe Loianno, Vijay Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A complex system for control of swarms of micro aerial vehicles (MAV), in literature also called as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or unmanned aerial systems (UAS), stabilized via an onboard visual relative localization is described in this paper. The main purpose of this work is to verify the possibility of self-stabilization of multi-MAV groups without an external global positioning system. This approach enables the deployment of MAV swarms outside laboratory conditions, and it may be considered an enabling technique for utilizing fleets of MAVs in real-world scenarios. The proposed visual-based stabilization approach has been designed for numerous different multi-UAV robotic applications (leader-follower UAV formation stabilization, UAV swarm stabilization and deployment in surveillance scenarios, cooperative UAV sensory measurement) in this paper. Deployment of the system in real-world scenarios truthfully verifies its operational constraints, given by limited onboard sensing suites and processing capabilities. The performance of the presented approach (MAV control, motion planning, MAV stabilization, and trajectory planning) in multi-MAV applications has been validated by experimental results in indoor as well as in challenging outdoor environments (e.g., in windy conditions and in a former pit mine).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)919-944
Number of pages26
JournalAutonomous Robots
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017



  • Control
  • Formations
  • Micro aerial vehicles (MAVs)
  • Stabilization
  • Swarms
  • Trajectory planning
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
  • Visual relative localization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence

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