As preparation for the cave circuit of the DARPA Subterranean Challenge, the MRS group has deployed aerial vehicles to fully autonomously explore the famous Býčí skála Cave located in the southern Moravian Karst of the Czech Republic. The drones have independently explored the vast majority of the ~1 km long cave in just two flights totalling ~25 minutes. OUSTER LIDAR was used as a mapping sensor.
This example shows the possibilities of indoor exploration tasks using UAVs, including environmental mapping using only the onboard sensors and onboard computer.
The aim of the research is to effectively find objects of interest, mainly injured personnel, in a previously unknown environment. A further description of the underlying motivation is available at http://mrs.felk.cvut.cz/projects/darpa.