Autonomous Drone Racing with Deep Reinforcement Learning (arXiv 2021)

In many robotic tasks, such as drone racing, the goal is to travel through a set of waypoints as fast as possible. A key challenge for this task is planning the minimum-time trajectory, which is typically solved by assuming perfect knowledge of the waypoints to pass in advance. The resulting solutions are either highly specialized for a single-track layout, or suboptimal due to simplifying assumptions about the platform dynamics. In this work, a new approach to minimum-time trajectory generation for quadrotors is presented. Leveraging deep reinforcement learning and relative gate observations, this approach can adaptively compute near-time-optimal trajectories for random track layouts. Our method exhibits a significant computational advantage over approaches based on trajectory optimization for non-trivial track configurations. The proposed approach is evaluated on a set of race tracks in simulation and the real world, achieving speeds of up to 17 m/s with a physical quadrotor.

Yunlong Song*, Mats Steinweg*, Elia Kaufmann, Davide Scaramuzza

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      title={Autonomous Drone Racing with Deep Reinforcement Learning},
      author={Song, Yunlong and Steinweg, Mats and Kaufmann, Elia and Scaramuzza, Davide},
      journal={arXiv preprint arXiv:2103.08624},