Vision-based Drones: What's Next?

Full Day Workshop at IROS 2018

October 5, Madrid Municipal Conference Centre, Madrid, Spain


  • 08/01/2018 A Journal of Field Robotics special issue on workshop related topics will be available shortly after the workshop. Contributors to the workshop will be highly encouraged to submit an extended version of their work.
  • 07/15/2018 The call for submission is open. Please go to the submission page.
  • 06/08/2018 The website is available


The workshop will feature peer-reviewed paper presentations and live demos.


Autonomous micro helicopters are starting to play a major role in tasks like search and rescue, environment monitoring, security surveillance, transportation and inspection. However, for such operations, two main challenges arise. The use GPS based navigation is not sufficient. Fully autonomous operation in cities or other dense indoor and outdoor environments requires micro helicopters to fly at low altitudes, where GPS signals are often shadowed or absent. In addition, during the previous mentioned tasks, agile motions are still not possible, compromising the execution of critical missions. These should be typically accomplished in a fast and agile manner and within a limited amount of time. Thus, several perception and control challenges have still to be addressed and solved. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) should be able to fly autonomously with agility in extreme navigation conditions guaranteeing robust high rate state estimation for closed loop control. On the other hand, multiple MAVs have been endowed with manipulation and transportation capabilities. Although the complexity of such systems increases with the number of agents, MAVs can perform tasks in a collaborative manner and exchange information between each other to make better decisions and optimize tasks.


This workshop will focus on the future challenges, visionary, cutting-edge and technological ideas in the area of vision-based drones. There are still several open research and scientific questions related to the best and efficient environment representations for navigation and toward unified solutions for manipulation, transportation, locomotion, human-robot interaction, and heterogeneity. How can drones autonomy change the human mobility? How can these machines interact with humans during a task predicting his future behavior and provide situational awareness relaxing communication constraints? What algorithms can automatically establish the best heterogeneity degree in terms of vehicles and sensors in a mission? How do we co-design perception and action loops for fast navigation of nano scale aerial platforms? What role should machine learning play for autonomy? The main goal is to encourage discussion between experts in the field on the previous topics and set upcoming new research topics and ideas, and roadmap for the upcoming 5-10 years. The workshop will feature, in addition to contributed and invited talks, real-time demos provided both from academia and industry actively working in this field.

Topics of Interest

Topics of interest to this workshop include, but are not necessarily limited to:
  • Visionary ideas for autonomy of vision-based UAVs
  • Agile autonomous navigation, transportation and manipulation with UAVs
  • High-speed visual control and state estimation of aerial vehicles
  • Long term and range perception for UAVs without GPS
  • Sensor fusion for autonomous navigation in unstructured environment
  • System software and hardware architectures
  • Mapping and Obstacle avoidance
  • Perception in challenging and dynamic environments
  • Modeling and benchmarking of performances for three-dimensional navigation
  • Dynamic visual servo control of aerial vehicles
  • Cooperative estimation and control with multiple aerial vehicles
  • Resource constrained navigation
  • Field robotics
  • Search and rescue robotics

We encourage the submission of papers describing work in progress, preliminary results, novel concepts, and industry experiences. Contributions are expected from researchers working in different fields related to autonomous aerial vehicles.

Call for papers

All submitted papers will be reviewed by at least two international experts (see Program Committee Member list below) on the basis of technical quality, relevance, significance, and clarity. We accept extended abstracts (2-4 pages), experiences' reports (2-4 pages), or full research papers (up to 6 pages). We also encourage submission of live demos and working systems (up to 2 pages). All accepted papers will appear on the workshop website. We are currently exploring the possibility of a journal special issue for the best contributions at the workshop.

Important Dates

  • June 15: Call for submission opens
  • July 31 August 21: Deadline of full-length papers
  • August 31: Notification of acceptance
  • October 5: Workshop at IROS 2018 Madrid Municipal Conference Centre, Madrid, Spain


The program includes invited talks, contributed papers and real-time demos.


Davide Scaramuzza
University of Zurich

Vijay Kumar
University of Pennsylvania

Program Committee

  • Dr. Shaojie Shen, HKUST
  • Dr. Gary McGrath, Qualcomm Research
  • Dr. Sebastian Scherer, CMU
  • Dr. Friedrich Fraundorfer, TU Graz
  • Dr. Debadeepta Dey, Microsoft
  • Dr. Juan Nieto, ETH Zurich
  • Dr. Nathan Michael, CMU
  • Dr. Martin Saska, CTU