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.