Microdrone-Based Indoor Mapping with Graph SLAM

S. Karam*, F. Nex, Bhanu Teja Chidura, N. Kerle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Unmanned aerial vehicles offer a safe and fast approach to the production of three-dimensional spatial data on the surrounding space. In this article, we present a low-cost SLAM-based drone for creating exploration maps of building interiors. The focus is on emergency response mapping in inaccessible or potentially dangerous places. For this purpose, we used a quadcopter microdrone equipped with six laser rangefinders (1D scanners) and an optical sensor for mapping and positioning. The employed SLAM is designed to map indoor spaces with planar structures through graph optimization. It performs loop-closure detection and correction to recognize previously visited places, and to correct the accumulated drift over time. The proposed methodology was validated for several indoor environments. We investigated the performance of our drone against a multilayer LiDAR-carrying macrodrone, a vision-aided navigation helmet, and ground truth obtained with a terrestrial laser scanner. The experimental results indicate that our SLAM system is capable of creating quality exploration maps of small indoor spaces, and handling the loop-closure problem. The accumulated drift without loop closure was on average 1.1% (0.35 m) over a 31-m-long acquisition trajectory. Moreover, the comparison results demonstrated that our flying microdrone provided a comparable performance to the multilayer LiDAR-based macrodrone, given the low deviation between the point clouds built by both drones. Approximately 85% of the cloud-to-cloud distances were less than 10 cm.
Original languageEnglish
Article number352
Pages (from-to)1-26
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2022




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