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Sensors 2018, 18(12), 4243;

Visual-Based SLAM Configurations for Cooperative Multi-UAV Systems with a Lead Agent: An Observability-Based Approach

Department of Computer Science, CUCEI, University of Guadalajara, Guadalajara 44430, Mexico
Department of Automatic Control, Technical University of Catalonia UPC, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 October 2018 / Revised: 28 November 2018 / Accepted: 28 November 2018 / Published: 3 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Networks, Systems and Applications)
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In this work, the problem of the cooperative visual-based SLAM for the class of multi-UA systems that integrates a lead agent has been addressed. In these kinds of systems, a team of aerial robots flying in formation must follow a dynamic lead agent, which can be another aerial robot, vehicle or even a human. A fundamental problem that must be addressed for these kinds of systems has to do with the estimation of the states of the aerial robots as well as the state of the lead agent. In this work, the use of a cooperative visual-based SLAM approach is studied in order to solve the above problem. In this case, three different system configurations are proposed and investigated by means of an intensive nonlinear observability analysis. In addition, a high-level control scheme is proposed that allows to control the formation of the UAVs with respect to the lead agent. In this work, several theoretical results are obtained, together with an extensive set of computer simulations which are presented in order to numerically validate the proposal and to show that it can perform well under different circumstances (e.g., GPS-challenging environments). That is, the proposed method is able to operate robustly under many conditions providing a good position estimation of the aerial vehicles and the lead agent as well. View Full-Text
Keywords: cooperative SLAM; aerial robots; state estimation; observability cooperative SLAM; aerial robots; state estimation; observability

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Trujillo, J.-C.; Munguia, R.; Guerra, E.; Grau, A. Visual-Based SLAM Configurations for Cooperative Multi-UAV Systems with a Lead Agent: An Observability-Based Approach. Sensors 2018, 18, 4243.

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