In the DLR-RMC XRotor group we work on autonomous multicopter systems like quadro- or octocopters. Such flying systems will play an important role in the future, e.g. supporting rescue teams in disaster zones or in inaccessible areas. Nowadays, they already allow the 3D reconstruction of specific areas and help during the inspection of buildings.

Our Goal:

We especially focus on the autonomy of our flying robots. Autonomous systems need to be able to operate independently also in environments where no external position reference (like GPS) is provided. Therefore, all the sensor data has to be acquired and processed on the flying platform. This is especially problematic if we think of the limited number of sensors and processing capabilities which can be carried on such lightweight and low-power robots. The development of algorithms which run in real-time despite these resource limitations is a major interest of our group.

Furthermore, a high data rate is required to control such a high dynamic system. The pose of a flying vehicle has to be continuously known, a dropout of the pose estimation or the underlying sensors would have fatal consequences. Unlike ground vehicles, flying robots cannot just stop and stand while the system recovers.

The requirement to develop efficient and at the same time reliable and robust algorithms, make flying robots to a quite challenging platform. Algorithms which run on such systems can in general also be used on other robots or intelligent devices (like smartphones).


  • sensor fusion
  • sensor registration
  • control of high dynamic systems
  • object interaction
  • efficient image processing
  • insect inspired navigation strategies
  • reactive obstacle avoidance
  • object detection
  • topological maps
  • 3D reconstruction
  • navigation
  • task planning

Contact: Teodor Tomić



  • RoboCup Best Paper Award at IROS 2013
  • 1st place at the “IMAV Outdoor Challenge 2011“


  • June 2012: fully autonomous window flight (DLR outdoor area) Video
  • December 2010: 3D hillside reconstruction  (alps) Video
  • June 2010: fully autonomous flight (Automatica 2010) Video

Autonomous quadrotor flight in a coal mine (October 2013)


Stereo Vision based indoor/outdoor Navigation for Flying Robots (February 2013)


DLR demo at our MAV workshop @ RSS 2013 (June 2013)


Stereo vision based state estimation and mapping on-board a quadrotor (October 2013)


Mobile Robot Cooperation (April 2013)


Stereo Vision and IMU based Real-Time Ego-Motion and Depth Image Computation on a Handheld Device (October 2012)


Team DLR wins IMAV 2011 Outdoor Competition (September 2011)



  • Korbinian Schmid, Felix Ruess, Michael Suppa, and Darius Burschka, "State Estimation for highly dynamic flying Systems using Key Frame Odometry with varying Time Delays”, IROS 2012, Vilamoura, Portugal. Link to the video: Video
  • Wolfgang Stürzl and Nicole Carey, "A Fisheye Camera System for Polarisation Detection on UAVs", Computer Vision -  ECCV 2012, Workshops and Demonstrations, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 7584, pp. 431-440, Oct 2012
  • Teodor Tomic, Korbinian Schmid, Philipp Lutz, Andreas Dömel, Michael Kassecker, Elmar Mair, Iris L. Grixa, Felix Ruess, Michael Suppa, and Darius Burschka, "Toward a Fully Autonomous UAV: Research Platform for Indoor and Outdoor Urban Search and Rescue," Robotics & Automation Magazine, IEEE , vol.19, no.3, pp.46-56, Sept. 2012
  • Korbinian Schmid, Heiko Hirschmüller, Andreas Dömel, Iris Grixa, Michael Suppa, and Gerd Hirzinger, “View Planning for Multi-View Stereo 3D Reconstruction Using an Autonomous Multicopter”, Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems, vol. 65, no. 1, pp. 309-323, Jan. 2012. Link to the video: Video
  • Michael Fleps, Elmar Mair, Oliver Ruepp, Michael Suppa,and Darius Burschka, "Optimization based IMU camera calibration", Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2011 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on , vol., no., pp.3297-3304, 25-30 Sept. 2011



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