Vistas and Wall-Floor Intersection Features: Enabling Autonomous Flight in Man-made Environments
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We propose a solution toward the problem of autonomous flight and exploration in man-made indoor environments with a micro aerial vehicle (MAV), using a frontal camera, a downward-facing sonar, and an IMU. We present a general method to detect and steer an MAV toward distant features that we call vistas while building a map of the environment to detect unexplored regions. Our method enables autonomous exploration capabilities while working reliably in textureless indoor environments that are challenging for traditional monocular SLAM approaches. We overcome the difficulties faced by traditional approaches with Wall-Floor Intersection Features , a novel type of low-dimensional landmarks that are specifically designed for man-made environments to capture the geometric structure of the scene. We demonstrate our results on a small, commercially available quadrotor platform.