REDBEE: A Visual-Inertial Drone System for Real-Time Moving Object Detection

Fig.1 the prototype drone of REDBEE

Aerial surveillance and monitoring demand both real-time and robust motion detection from a moving camera. Most existing techniques for drones involve sending a video data streams back to a ground station with a high-end desktop computer or server. These methods share one major drawback: data transmission is subjected to considerable delay and possible corruption. Onboard computation can not only overcome the data corruption problem but also increase the range of motion. Unfortunately, due to limited weight-bearing capacity, equipping drones with computing hardware of high processing capability is not feasible. Therefore, developing a motion detection system with real-time performance and high accuracy for drones with limited computing power is highly desirable.

Fig.2 The comparison between our system with the state-of-the-art drone system.

In this paper, we propose a visual-inertial drone system for real-time motion detection, namely REDBEE, that helps overcome challenges in shooting scenes with strong parallax and dynamic background. REDBEE, which can run on the state-of-the-art commercial low-power application processor (e.g. Snapdragon Flight board used for our prototype drone), achieves real-time performance with high detection accuracy. The REDBEE system overcomes obstacles in shooting scenes with strong parallax through an inertial-aided dual-plane homography estimation; it solves the issues in shooting scenes with dynamic background by distinguishing the moving targets through a probabilistic model based on spatial, temporal, and entropy consistency. The experiments are presented which demonstrate that our system obtains greater accuracy when detecting moving targets in outdoor environments than the state-of-the-art real-time onboard detection systems.


C. Huang, P. Chen, X. Yang and K. -T. Cheng, "REDBEE: A Visual-Inertial Drone System for Real-Time Moving Object Detection," in IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2017. Youtube Link