Autonomous drone flight in a production environment for logistical Process support

Theme Factory planning, Artificial Intelligence, Industry 4.0, Automation
Project title Autonomous drone flight in a production environment for logistical Process support (Autodrohne in der Produktion)
Project duration 01.10.2020 – 30.09.2022
Press release

The goal of the research project is the development of an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)that autonomously flies through factories while recording data for 3D factory layouts. In the future, this so-called "autodrone" (autonomous drone) should make it possible to carry out data acquisition in the context of factory planning processes much faster and with less personnel expenditure. A drone-based automated 3D layout acquisition was already successfully implemented in the research project Instant Factory Maps, but on the basis of manual drone control.

An autonomous UAS flight in an unknown, changing environment – even more so in the closed rooms of a factory – is not yet possible. The research project aims to create the conditions for this.

On the one hand, a security concept is to be developed to enable the indoor use of UAS. On the other hand, a demonstrator is to be developed in the research project. First, suitable hardware components will be selected – driving motors, a bearing frame, a processing unit and sensors for environment detection – as well as AI algorithms for route planning and navigation will be developed with which the UAS can move collision-free through unknown, dynamic environments. The AI algorithms are first tested and optimized in a simulation environment and then assembled with the hardware to form a demonstrator.

With the autodrone demonstrator, the scientists intend to experimentally validate autonomous route planning, navigation, and factory layout capture.

Publications about the project

Unmanned aerial systems have changed the industry dramatically. The rapidly advancing technological development of so-called Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) makes it necessary to address the design of future operational scenarios at an early stage.

UAS, Drones, Navigation


The IGF project 21395 N of the Research Foundation Intralogistics / Material Handling and Logistics (IFL) is funded via the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF) in the programme of Industrial Collective Research (IGF) by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) based on a decision of the German Bundestag.


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