Autonomous Robots

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 101–121 | Cite as

Collision avoidance for aerial vehicles in multi-agent scenarios

  • Javier Alonso-MoraEmail author
  • Tobias Naegeli
  • Roland Siegwart
  • Paul Beardsley


This article describes an investigation of local motion planning, or collision avoidance, for a set of decision-making agents navigating in 3D space. The method is applicable to agents which are heterogeneous in size, dynamics and aggressiveness. It builds on the concept of velocity obstacles (VO), which characterizes the set of trajectories that lead to a collision between interacting agents. Motion continuity constraints are satisfied by using a trajectory tracking controller and constraining the set of available local trajectories in an optimization. Collision-free motion is obtained by selecting a feasible trajectory from the VO’s complement, where reciprocity can also be encoded. Three algorithms for local motion planning are presented—(1) a centralized convex optimization in which a joint quadratic cost function is minimized subject to linear and quadratic constraints, (2) a distributed convex optimization derived from (1), and (3) a centralized non-convex optimization with binary variables in which the global optimum can be found, albeit at higher computational cost. A complete system integration is described and results are presented in experiments with up to four physical quadrotors flying in close proximity, and in experiments with two quadrotors avoiding a human.


Collision avoidance Reciprocal  Aerial vehicle  Quadrotor Multi-robot Multi-agent  Motion planning Dynamic environment 

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (mp4 14075 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Javier Alonso-Mora
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tobias Naegeli
    • 2
  • Roland Siegwart
    • 2
  • Paul Beardsley
    • 3
  1. 1.ETH Zurich and Disney Research ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.ETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Disney Research ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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