3D Exploration of Indoor Spaces Using Drones
Custom drones for 3D exploration and mapping of various indoor spaces
Indoor exploration using drones
Most of the applications for drones are focused on exploring and investigating outdoor spaces like forests, fields, and construction sites. These outdoor spaces not only have larger free space for operating the drones, but also have better ways to localize the UAV using GPS and camera-based methods.
Recent work on indoor SLAM and 3D mapping have increased interest in UAV-based applications. Unlike a wheeled robot, a flying UAV can cover large areas faster and go to various heights to create an accurate map of a building.
Different kinds of drones can be used to go through narrow indoor spaces and on different terrains, such as through chimneys or on stairs. The use of UAVs in indoor settings opens up a whole new area of research and applications with the advantages of safety and autonomy.
Solutions for various conditions
Fly4Future developed three custom drones for the Technology Innovation Institute in Abu Dhabi (TII) to explore and map indoor spaces. The drones used 3D Lidar along with 3D cameras to find its position (localization) and map different objects in an environment. Cameras were also used to segment different objects into categories, e.g. walls and tables, while on the fly. The platform used an open-source autonomy engine along with several software packages provided by the team from TII.
- sourcing rich 3D data about the environment
- documentation of indoors of archaeological sites and historical buildings
The mobility of the drone provides an additional advantage as the sensor can be moved into different configurations or tight spaces, which is challenging enough for humans or even other robots.
- search-and-rescue missions in indoor spaces
Our universal research drone created for indoor inspections and mapping, was inspired by a DARPA challenge winning system.
We have created a dynamic cognitive multi-modal mesh for ad-hoc communication within extensive heterogeneous teams of multiple robots.
We have developed a water-specific smart sensory buoy, deployable by autonomous drones, and effective in different water conditions.