Table of Contents
International Journal of Navigation and Observation
Volume 2012, Article ID 627079, 9 pages
Research Article

Visual Flight Control of a Quadrotor Using Bioinspired Motion Detector

1Institute of Automatic Control Engineering (LSR), Technische Universität München, 80290 München, Germany
2Department of Systems and Computational Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Am Klopferspitz 18, D-82152 Martinsried, Germany
3Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), Technische Universität München, 80290 München, Germany

Received 25 August 2011; Accepted 20 February 2012

Academic Editor: Farid Melgani

Copyright © 2012 Lei Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Motion detection in the fly is extremely fast with low computational requirements. Inspired from the fly's vision system, we focus on a real-time flight control on a miniquadrotor with fast visual feedback. In this work, an elaborated elementary motion detector (EMD) is utilized to detect local optical flow. Combined with novel receptive field templates, the yaw rate of the quadrotor is estimated through a lookup table established with this bioinspired visual sensor. A closed-loop control system with the feedback of yaw rate estimated by EMD is designed. With the motion of the other degrees of freedom stabilized by a camera tracking system, the yaw-rate of the quadrotor during hovering is controlled based on EMD feedback under real-world scenario. The control performance of the proposed approach is compared with that of conventional approach. The experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of utilizing EMD for quadrotor control.