Catching a Flying Ball with a Vision-Based Quadrotor

Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Advanced Robotics book series (SPAR, volume 1)

Abstract

We present a method allowing a quadrotor equipped with only onboard cameras and an IMU to catch a flying ball. Our system runs without any external infrastructure and with reasonable computational complexity. Central to our approach is an online monocular vision-based ball trajectory estimator that recovers and predicts the 3-D motion of a flying ball using only noisy 2-D observations. Our method eliminates the need for direct range sensing via stereo correspondences, making it robust against noisy or erroneous measurements. Our system is made by a simple 2-D visual ball tracker, a UKF-based state estimator that fuses optical flow and inertial data, and a nonlinear tracking controller. We perform extensive analysis on system performance by studying both the system dynamics and ball trajectory estimation accuracy. Through online experiments, we show the first mid-air interception of a flying ball with an aerial robot using only onboard sensors.

Keywords

Ball catching Quadrotor Vision-based state estimation 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Hong Kong University of Science and TechnologyKowloonHong Kong

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