Real-time Planning for Automated Multi-View Drone Cinematography

Authors: T. Nägeli, Lukas Meier, Alexander Domahidi, Javier Alonso-Mora, O. Hilliges,
publication: To appear in ACM SIGGRAPH


We propose a method for automated aerial videography in dynamic and cluttered environments. An online receding horizon optimization formulation facilitates the planning process for novices and experts alike. ‘e algorithm takes high-level plans as input, which we dub virtual rails, alongside interactively de€ned aesthetic framing objectives and jointly solves for 3D quadcopter motion plans and associated velocities. ‘e method generates control inputs subject to constraints of a non-linear quadrotor model and dynamic constraints imposed by actors moving in an a priori unknown way. ‘e output plans are physically feasible, for the horizon length, and we apply the resulting control inputs directly at each time-step, without requiring a separate trajectory tracking algorithm. ‘e online nature of the method enables incorporation of feedback into the planning and control loop, makes the algorithm robust to disturbances. Furthermore, we extend the method to include coordination between multiple drones to enable dynamic multi-view shots, typical for action sequences and live TV coverage. ‘e algorithm runs in real-time on standard hardware and computes motion plans for several drones in the order of milliseconds. Finally, we evaluate the approach qualitatively with a number of challenging shots, involving multiple drones and actors and qualitatively characterize the computational performance experimentally.



	author = {N{\"a}geli, Tobias and Meier, Lukas and Domahidi, Alexander and Alonso-Mora, Javier and Hilliges, Otmar},
	title = {Real-time Planning for Automated Multi-View Drone Cinematography},
	journal = {ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH)},
	year = {2017},
	location = {Los Angeles, USA},