A3D: Adaptive, Accurate, and Autonomous Navigation for Edge-Assisted Drones

by   Liekang Zeng, et al.

Accurate navigation is of paramount importance to ensure flight safety and efficiency for autonomous drones. Recent research starts to use Deep Neural Networks to enhance drone navigation given their remarkable predictive capability for visual perception. However, existing solutions either run DNN inference tasks on drones in situ, impeded by the limited onboard resource, or offload the computation to external servers which may incur large network latency. Few works consider jointly optimizing the offloading decisions along with image transmission configurations and adapting them on the fly. In this paper, we propose A3D, an edge server assisted drone navigation framework that can dynamically adjust task execution location, input resolution, and image compression ratio in order to achieve low inference latency, high prediction accuracy, and long flight distances. Specifically, we first augment state-of-the-art convolutional neural networks for drone navigation and define a novel metric called Quality of Navigation as our optimization objective which can effectively capture the above goals. We then design a deep reinforcement learning based neural scheduler at the drone side for which an information encoder is devised to reshape the state features and thus improve its learning ability. To further support simultaneous multi-drone serving, we extend the edge server design by developing a network-aware resource allocation algorithm, which allows provisioning containerized resources aligned with drones' demand. We finally implement a proof-of-concept prototype with realistic devices and validate its performance in a real-world campus scene, as well as a simulation environment for thorough evaluation upon AirSim. Extensive experimental results show that A3D can reduce end-to-end latency by 28.06 distance by up to 27.28


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