Real-time modification of user inputs in the teleoperation of an UAV in order to avoid obstacles with a reactive algorithm, transparently from the user control

Daman Bareiss, Joseph R. Bourne & Kam K. Leang, On-board model-based automatic collision avoidance: application in remotely-piloted unmanned aerial vehicles, Auton Robot (2017) 41:1539–1554, DOI: 10.1007/s10514-017-9614-4.

This paper focuses on real-world implementation and verification of a local, model-based stochastic automatic collision avoidance algorithm, with application in
remotely-piloted (tele-operated) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Automatic collision detection and avoidance for tele-operated UAVs can reduce the workload of pilots to allow them to focus on the task at hand, such as searching for victims in a search and rescue scenario following a natural disaster. The proposed algorithm takes the pilot’s input and exploits the robot’s dynamics to predict the robot’s trajectory for determining whether a collision will occur. Using on-board sensors for obstacle detection, if a collision is imminent, the algorithm modifies the pilot’s input to avoid the collision while attempting to maintain the pilot’s intent. The algorithm is implemented using a low-cost on-board computer, flight-control system, and a two-dimensional laser illuminated detection and ranging sensor for obstacle detection along the trajectory of the robot. The sensor data is processed using a split-and-merge segmentation algorithm and an approximate Minkowski difference. Results from flight tests demonstrate the algorithm’s capabilities for teleoperated collision-free control of an experimental UAV.

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