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Learned Inertial Odometry for Autonomous Drone Racing


Cioffi, Giovanni; Bauersfeld, Leonard; Kaufmann, Elia; Scaramuzza, Davide (2023). Learned Inertial Odometry for Autonomous Drone Racing. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 8(5):2684-2691.

Abstract

Inertial odometry is an attractive solution to the problem of state estimation for agile quadrotor flight. It is inexpensive, lightweight, and it is not affected by perceptual degradation. However, only relying on the integration of the inertial measurements for state estimation is infeasible. The errors and time-varying biases present in such measurements cause the accumulation of large drift in the pose estimates. Recently, inertial odometry has made significant progress in estimating the motion of pedestrians. State-of-the-art algorithms rely on learning a motion prior that is typical of humans but cannot be transferred to drones. In this work, we propose a learning-based odometry algorithm that uses an inertial measurement unit (IMU) as the only sensor modality for autonomous drone racing tasks. The core idea of our system is to couple a model-based filter, driven by the inertial measurements, with a learning-based module that has access to the thrust measurements. We show that our inertial odometry algorithm is superior to the state-of-the-art filter-based and optimization-based visual-inertial odometry as well as the state-of-the-art learned-inertial odometry in estimating the pose of an autonomous racing drone. Additionally, we show that our system is comparable to a visual-inertial odometry solution that uses a camera and exploits the known gate location and appearance. We believe that the application in autonomous drone racing paves the way for novel research in inertial odometry for agile quadrotor flight.

Abstract

Inertial odometry is an attractive solution to the problem of state estimation for agile quadrotor flight. It is inexpensive, lightweight, and it is not affected by perceptual degradation. However, only relying on the integration of the inertial measurements for state estimation is infeasible. The errors and time-varying biases present in such measurements cause the accumulation of large drift in the pose estimates. Recently, inertial odometry has made significant progress in estimating the motion of pedestrians. State-of-the-art algorithms rely on learning a motion prior that is typical of humans but cannot be transferred to drones. In this work, we propose a learning-based odometry algorithm that uses an inertial measurement unit (IMU) as the only sensor modality for autonomous drone racing tasks. The core idea of our system is to couple a model-based filter, driven by the inertial measurements, with a learning-based module that has access to the thrust measurements. We show that our inertial odometry algorithm is superior to the state-of-the-art filter-based and optimization-based visual-inertial odometry as well as the state-of-the-art learned-inertial odometry in estimating the pose of an autonomous racing drone. Additionally, we show that our system is comparable to a visual-inertial odometry solution that uses a camera and exploits the known gate location and appearance. We believe that the application in autonomous drone racing paves the way for novel research in inertial odometry for agile quadrotor flight.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Informatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:000 Computer science, knowledge & systems
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Control and Systems Engineering
Physical Sciences > Biomedical Engineering
Physical Sciences > Human-Computer Interaction
Physical Sciences > Mechanical Engineering
Physical Sciences > Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
Physical Sciences > Computer Science Applications
Physical Sciences > Control and Optimization
Physical Sciences > Artificial Intelligence
Scope:Discipline-based scholarship (basic research)
Language:English
Date:May 2023
Deposited On:26 Feb 2024 13:08
Last Modified:30 Apr 2024 01:52
Publisher:Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
ISSN:2377-3766
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1109/LRA.2023.3252342
  • Content: Accepted Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)