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Effective Exploration for MAVs Based on the Expected Information Gain

Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformation, University of Bonn, 53115 Bonn, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 December 2017 / Revised: 28 February 2018 / Accepted: 3 March 2018 / Published: 6 March 2018
PDF [5290 KB, uploaded 6 March 2018]


Micro aerial vehicles (MAVs) are an excellent platform for autonomous exploration. Most MAVs rely mainly on cameras for buliding a map of the 3D environment. Therefore, vision-based MAVs require an efficient exploration algorithm to select viewpoints that provide informative measurements. In this paper, we propose an exploration approach that selects in real time the next-best-view that maximizes the expected information gain of new measurements. In addition, we take into account the cost of reaching a new viewpoint in terms of distance and predictability of the flight path for a human observer. Finally, our approach selects a path that reduces the risk of crashes when the expected battery life comes to an end, while still maximizing the information gain in the process. We implemented and thoroughly tested our approach and the experiments show that it offers an improved performance compared to other state-of-the-art algorithms in terms of precision of the reconstruction, execution time, and smoothness of the path. View Full-Text
Keywords: exploration; information gain; vision exploration; information gain; vision

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Palazzolo, E.; Stachniss, C. Effective Exploration for MAVs Based on the Expected Information Gain. Drones 2018, 2, 9.

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