Autonomous Quadrotor RFID Inventorying

We’re using the AscTec Pelican UAV to do autonomous inventorying using LIDAR-based SLAM and a long-range RFID reader.

In this demo, we placed three RFID tags on the walls (left, front, and right). The Pelican begins by performing an automated routine where it launches, stabilizes at 1 meter above the ground (using sonar), and then spins 360 degrees. It does this to get a full LIDAR scan of its environment while building a map using simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM).

After initialization, the Pelican finds the closest point along the wall, faces it, and moves to within a predefined distance of the wall. One this goal has been achieved, the Pelican proceeds by strafing along the wall and scanning for passive RFID tags. The data shown on the upper-left illustrates when a tag data is being detected. The movement pattern was calculated using morphological operations on the binary floor map obtained from LIDAR SLAM. This allows the Pelican to define exterior walls and safely avoid obstacles.

Finally, the Pelican decides it’s time to land.

Nothing breaks or starts on fire => Success!!