Using a drone with a monocular camera: a feasibility study on indoor applications

Real-time data collection and decision-making with drones will play an important role in precision livestock and farming. Drones are already being used in precision agriculture. Nevertheless, this is not the case for indoor livestock and farming environments due to several challenges and constraints.

These indoor environments are limited in physical space and there is a localization problem, due to GPS unavailability. Therefore, this work aims to give a step toward the usage of drones for indoor farming and livestock management. To investigate the drone positioning in these workspaces, two visual simultaneous localization and mapping (VSLAM)—LSD-SLAM and ORB-SLAM—algorithms were compared using a monocular camera onboard a small drone. Several experiments were carried out in a greenhouse and a dairy farm barn with the absolute trajectory and the relative pose error being analyzed.

It was found that the approach that suits best these workspaces is ORB-SLAM. This algorithm was tested by performing waypoint navigation and generating maps from the clustered areas. It was shown that aerial VSLAM could be achieved within these workspaces and that plant and cattle monitoring could benefit from using affordable and off-the-shelf drone technology. 

Read the complete research at

Krul, S.; Pantos, C.; Frangulea, M.; Valente, J. Visual SLAM for Indoor Livestock and Farming Using a Small Drone with a Monocular Camera: A Feasibility Study. Drones 2021, 5, 41. 

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