Evaluation of the Localization Ability of a Commercial Off-The-Shelf Drone for Active Cooperative Localization

Summer 2017

Eugene Lo : Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Mentor: Mark Mueller

A key component of successfully automating robots is localization: maintaining realtime knowledge of the robots' positions and orientations in some local environment. Tools such as GPS can achieve reasonably accurate localization via absolute position estimates (e.g. a longitude, latitude measurement), but these absolute sensors often do not work well in indoor settings due to poor reception of the signal. As more and more robots are deployed to work in indoor environments such as households and factories, cost-effective and accurate localization for indoor settings becomes vital for enabling progress and maintaining safety for both the robots and the people surrounding them. Our research explores the concept of optimization of a multi-agent system for localization. One designated primary agent uses measurements sent by the supporting agents to localize, while the supporting agents simultaneously coordinate and optimize their movements in order to be able to continue relaying the necessary information to the primary agent. My specific project will involve analyzing a commercial drone with advanced onboard sensors and evaluating how useful these capabilities are for cooperative localization with a smaller, less powerful drone.

My SURF experience really made me appreciate what research is all about. I had done some work with my current lab over the 2016-2017 academic year, but it had been difficult juggling these responsibilities with all of the time demanded by a full class schedule. Having the opportunity to work on groundbreaking problems full-time opened my eyes to the challenges and excitement that research has to offer. Collaborating and communicating with so many peers doing amazing work in so many different disciplines made me realize that there is progress to be made in almost every aspect of society and humanity; the least I could do is use the opportunities I've been given to contribute as much as I can to my own field of study. I had initially been ambivalent about pursuing an education past a bachelor's degree, but thanks to my experience this summer, I now definitively know that this is what I want to do. Thank you again, Rose Hills Foundation, for giving me this opportunity to discover my passions and to set my aspirations.