Journal article

3-D Relative Positioning Sensor for Indoor Flying Robots

Swarms of indoor flying robots are promising for many applications, including searching tasks in collapsing buildings, or mobile surveillance and monitoring tasks in complex man-made structures. For tasks that employ several flying robots, spatial-coordination between robots is essential for achieving collective operation. However, there is a lack of on-board sensors capable of sensing the highly-dynamic 3-D trajectories required for spatial-coordination of small indoor flying robots. Existing sensing methods typically utilise complex SLAM based approaches, or absolute positioning obtained from on-board tracking sensors, which is not practical for real-world operation. This paper presents an adaptable, embedded infrared based 3-D relative positioning sensor that also operates as a proximity sensor, which is designed to enable inter-robot spatial coordination and goal-directed flight. This practical approach is robust to varying indoor environmental illumination conditions and is computationally simple.

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