Visual-inertial fusion for quadrotor Micro Air Vehicles with improved scale observability

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Conference Proceeding
Proceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2013, pp. 3148 - 3153
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This paper presents a novel algorithm for fusing monocular vision and inertial information for quadrotor Micro Air Vehicles by incorporating the unique dynamic characteristics of that platform into the state estimation process. The dynamics of a quadrotor is unique in that a dual axis accelerometer mounted parallel to the propeller plane provides measurements that are directly proportional to vehicle velocities in that plane. By exploiting these dynamic characteristics, we show that all vehicle states, including the absolute scale, become observable in all motion patterns. This distinguishes our method with other visual-inertial fusion methods, which either assume zero accelerometer bias, or require 'sufficiently exciting' motion, such as non-zero acceleration, to ensure observability of the scale. The advantages of our method over existing visual-inertial fusion algorithms are proved through a theoretical analysis using Lie Derivatives and verified by extensive simulations and experiments. © 2013 IEEE.
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