Drone Vision and Deep Learning for Infrastructure Inspection

This lecture overviews the use of drones for infrastructure inspection and maintenance. Various types of inspection, e.g., using visual cameras, LIDAR or thermal cameras are reviewed. Drone vision plays a pivotal role in drone perception/control for infrastructure inspection and maintenance, because: a) it enhances flight safety by drone localization/mapping, obstacle detection and emergency landing detection; b) performs quality visual data acquisition, and c) allows powerful drone/human interactions, e.g., through automatic event detection and gesture control. The drone should have: a) increased multiple drone decisional autonomy and b) improved multiple drone robustness and safety mechanisms (e.g., communication robustness/safety, embedded flight regulation compliance, enhanced crowd avoidance and emergency landing mechanisms). Therefore, it must be contextually aware and adaptive. Drone vision and machine learning play a very important role towards this end, covering the following topics: a) semantic world mapping b) drone and target localization, c) drone visual analysis for target/obstacle/crowd/point of interest detection, d) 2D/3D target tracking. Finally, embedded on-drone vision (e.g., tracking) and machine learning algorithms are extremely important, as they facilitate drone autonomy, e.g., in communication-denied environments. Primary application area is electric line inspection. Line detection and tracking and drone perching are examined. Human action recognition and co-working assistance are overviewed.

The lecture will offer: a) an overview of all the above plus other related topics and will stress the related algorithmic aspects, such as: b) drone localization and world mapping, c) target detection d) target tracking and 3D localization e) gesture control and co-working with humans. Some issues on embedded CNN and fast convolution computing will be overviewed as well.

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