Cooperative Visual Inertial Odometry for Heterogeneous Swarm of Drones Navigating in Noisy Environments

Atik K. C., Erdogan E., Yahsi A. Y., Kara F., Yalcin B., Cetin G., ...More

31st IEEE International Symposium on Industrial Electronics, ISIE 2022, Alaska, United States Of America, 1 - 03 June 2022, vol.2022-June, pp.727-734 identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 2022-June
  • Doi Number: 10.1109/isie51582.2022.9831647
  • City: Alaska
  • Country: United States Of America
  • Page Numbers: pp.727-734
  • Keywords: localization, optimization, swarm drone, VIO
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


© 2022 IEEE.This paper presents a methodology for enhancing the localization performance of drone swarms by collaborative propagation of the estimates of drones equipped with higher cost sensors to the drones with lower-cost sensors. Although recent advances in visual-inertial odometry (VIO) enabled good performance in GPS denied environments, the localization performance is still highly dependent on the accuracy of inertial sensors. Moreover, environmental effects that corrupt visual inputs also contribute to the error rate of VIO estimates thus localization in noisy environments with low-grade sensors is still widely an open problem. We show that this problem can be alleviated when drones are navigating in the form of a swarm, and the relative distance measurements between drones are available through ultra-wideband (UWB) signals. In particular, we develop a collaborative Kalman filtering and optimization framework, where the drones with lower grade sensors receive updates from drones that have access to higher-quality measurements. We validate our approach in a simulation environment with realistic visual representations and show that the proposed methodology can significantly improve the localization performance, especially for the scenarios where the camera measurements are corrupted with high noise. We further present results in simplistic flight tests to demonstrate the applicability of our approach to real hardware.