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When it comes in indoor scenarios, VIOs may provide good performance, but when it comes to outdoor environments and high altitudes without proper GPS coverage/stability, are current VIOs capable of providing robust localization/navigation? are they used commercially at such height/environments?

I want to know if there are better solutions other than VIOs for autonomous navigation that are robust. I was looking at other approaches for autonomous navigation and found about depth-camera, laser range finders and optitrack? solutions as well, but it seems these solution only work at low altitudes. So VIO seemed like the only option as you install a cheap monocular/stereo camera and you go on about your business.
However, it seems VIO algorithms are not robust enough and also there is dust/fog and even night that normal RGB cameras cant handle.
So if I want to build a robust navigation system what should I turn to? depth cameras? or RGB cameras and estimate the depth myself? whats the current solution thats being used today?

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  • $\begingroup$ I originally asked this here, but it seems this is more relevant. incase I'm wrong please kindly say so. $\endgroup$
    – Hossein
    Jan 11 at 3:07
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are current VIOs capable of providing robust localization/navigation?-> It might work but remember that the camera always looks down to find a feature to track. Old generation of vacuum robots is looking up and tracking the features on the ceiling. Yours is the opposite case. Also, you should expect the translation estimation from VIO might not be as accurate as the ground one. This is because at that high altitude a small movement does not make much movement on the pixel side. This will affect the IMU bias observability too. This might be overcome if you combine a zoom lens(for translation) with wide lens(for orientation).

So if I want to build a robust navigation system what should I turn to? -> I think making a multi modal sensor set(GPS+IMU+LiDAR+Camera) is a solution for you.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot, really appreciate it. Arent Lidars huge? do you mean the laser rangefinders? I could find a small one that works for 180~200meters. if not how would that work? I mean is that the cylindrical thing on top of autonomous cars? I'm kind of confused. could you elaborate a bit on this how this is going to work? $\endgroup$
    – Hossein
    Jan 11 at 4:37
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, that cylindrical thing. Have a look at OS2 long-range LiDAR. Its max range is 240m. I am not sure which drone you are using but this is light enough to be used on middle size drones. E.g have a look at devices from hovermap. $\endgroup$ Jan 11 at 4:55
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot. I had a look, but I guess neither of them are good for my usecase, the lidar covers horizontal view, whereas I want to see below, the hovermap was good, but its heavy and I guess its best suited for mines and that range may not be enough at the 200meters height. I actually saw DJI M2EA drone. it has a depth camera and is very small. though I dont know if it works at that altitude or even near that altitude or not or what model dji used. do you have any idea about this? (like can a long range stereo-camera or thermal/ir/depth camera be used like what we see in dji? $\endgroup$
    – Hossein
    Jan 11 at 7:10

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