Autonomous quadrotors will soon play a major role in search-and-rescue and remote-inspection missions, where a fast response is crucial. Quadrotors have the potential to navigate quickly through unstructured environments, enter and exit buildings through narrow gaps, and fly through collapsed buildings. However, their speed and maneuverability are still far from those of birds. Indeed, agile navigation through unknown, indoor environments poses a number of challenges for robotics research in terms of perception, state estimation, planning, and control. In this talk, I will give an overview of my research activities on visual navigation of quadrotors, from slow navigation (using standard frame-based cameras) to agile flight (using active vision and event-based cameras). Topics covered will be: visual inertial state estimation, monocular dense reconstruction, active vision and control, event-based vision.
Davide Scaramuzza (born in 1980, Italian) is Assistant Professor of Robotics at the University of Zurich, where he does research at the intersection of robotics and computer vision. He did his PhD in robotics and computer vision at ETH Zurich (with Roland Siegwart) and a postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania (with Vijay Kumar and Kostas Daniilidis). From 2009 to 2012, he led the European project “sFly”, which introduced the world’s first autonomous navigation of micro drones using visual-inertial sensors and onboard computing. For his research contributions, he was awarded the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Early Career Award, the SNSF-ERC Starting Grant ($1.5m, equivalent of NSF Career Award), and a Google Faculty Research Award.
In 2015, his lab received funding from the DARPA FLA Program, a three-year project dedicated to agile navigation of vision-controlled drones in unstructured and cluttered environments. He coauthored the book “Introduction to Autonomous Mobile Robots” (published by MIT Press) and more than 80 papers on robotics and perception. In 2015, he co-founded a venture, called Zurich-Eye, dedicated to the commercialization of visual-inertial navigation solutions for mobile robots. In September 2016, this became Facebook-Oculus VR Switzerland.
Faculty Host: Michael Kaess