3-D Reciprocal Collision Avoidance on Physical Quadrotor Helicopters with On-Board Sensing for Relative Positioning (pdf)

Parker Conroy, Daman Bareiss, Matt Beall, Jur van den Berg


In this paper, we present an implementation of 3-D reciprocal collision avoidance on real quadrotor helicopters where each quadrotor senses the relative position and velocity of other quadrotors using an on-board camera. We show that using our approach, quadrotors are able to successfully avoid pairwise collisions GPS and motion-capture denied environments, without communication between the quadrotors, and even when human operators deliberately attempt to induce collision. To our knowledge, this is the first time that reciprocal collision avoidance has been successfully implemented on real robots where each agent independently observes the others using on-board sensors. We theoretically analyze the response of the collision-avoidance algorithm to the violated assumptions by the use of real robots. We quantitatively analyze our experimental results. A particularly striking observation is that at times the quadrotors exhibit "reciprocal dance" behavior, which is also observed when humans move past each other in constrained environments. This seems to be the result of sensing uncertainty, which causes both robots involved to have a different belief about the relative positions and velocities and, as a result, choose the same side on which to pass.