In recent years, demand has been increasing for target detection and tracking from aerial imagery via drones using onboard powered sensors and devices. We propose a very effective method for this application based on a deep learning framework. A state-of-the-art embedded hardware system empowers small flying robots to carry out the real-time onboard computation necessary for object tracking. Two types of embedded modules were developed: one was designed using a Jetson TX or AGX Xavier, and the other was based on an Intel Neural Compute Stick. These are suitable for real-time onboard computing power on small flying drones with limited space. A comparative analysis of current state-of-the-art deep learning-based multi-object detection algorithms was carried out utilizing the designated GPU-based embedded computing modules to obtain detailed metric data about frame rates, as well as the computation power. We also introduce an effective target tracking approach for moving objects. The algorithm for tracking moving objects is based on the extension of simple online and real-time tracking. It was developed by integrating a deep learning-based association metric approach with simple online and real-time tracking (Deep SORT), which uses a hypothesis tracking methodology with Kalman filtering and a deep learning-based association metric. In addition, a guidance system that tracks the target position using a GPU-based algorithm is introduced. Finally, we demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed algorithms by real-time experiments with a small multi-rotor drone.
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