Special Issues

Special Issue on High Speed Vision-Based Autonomous UAVs

Special Issue Guest Editors: Giuseppe Loianno, Davide Scaramuzza and Vijay Kumar

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 environments requires micro helicopters to fly at low altitudes, where GPS signals are often shadowed or indoors and generally. In addition, the previous listed tasks are executed at low speed, compromising the execution of critical missions, which have to be typically accomplished in a limited amount of time. Thus, a number of perception and control challenges have still to be solved.

Papers for this special issue will focus on the systems' challenges for small-scale and high speed navigation of aerial vehicles, where the size, weight and payload constraints only allow light-weight sensors like cameras, and the operating conditions of high speeds require perception, state estimation, environment reconstruction, obstacle avoidance and planning algorithms over longer ranges and shorter time scales. This workshop will focus not only on the scientific foundations, but also the algorithmic and software design challenges, which arise in the settings of small-scale, high speed navigation in three-dimensional environments. 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 include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  1. High-speed visual control and state estimation of aerial vehicles

  2. Long term and range perception for UAVs without GPS

  3. Sensor fusion for autonomous navigation in unstructured environment

  4. System software and hardware architectures

  5. Mapping and Obstacle avoidance

  6. Perception in challenging and dynamic environments

  7. Modeling and benchmarking of performances for three-dimensional navigation

  8. Dynamic visual servo control of aerial vehicles

  9. Cooperative estimation and control with multiple aerial vehicles

  10. Resource constrained navigation

We encourage contributions covering topics related to navigation autonomy of UAVs at sustained speed such as control, computer vision, estimation, ma- chine learning, planning and new architectures. All the submissions should present original works that do not use motion capture systems and GPS for control purposes, but eventually only to benchmark the proposed solutions. In addition, the submissions must follow the spirit of the Journal of Field Robotics, describing implemented real systems tested and eventually deployed in regular operations. Authors are encouraged to submit multimedia attachments to their works, i.e., datasets, videos.

Submission Instructions:

The submissions must conform to the JFR guidelines. This special issue will follow a rolling schedule. The papers can be submitted anytime within the submission window of Nov 1 to January 31. The papers will be reviewed and a decision made, as and when they are received.

Papers that are accepted will appear online within two weeks of decision. All the accepted papers will then appear in the special print issue of JFR.


  1. Nov 1, 2016 - January 31, 2016 - Submit manuscripts

  2. March 31, 2017 - Initial reviews completed

  3. May 15, 2017 - Decisions and author notification

  4. June 15, 2017 - Final manuscripts for publication