Development of microphone-array-embedded UAV for search and rescue task

Kazuhiro Nakadai, Makoto Kumon, Hiroshi G. Okuno, Kotaro Hoshiba, Mizuho Wakabayashi, Kai Washizaki, Takahiro Ishiki, Daniel Gabriel, Yoshiaki Bando, Takayuki Morito, Ryosuke Kojima, Osamu Sugiyama

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    37 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper addresses online outdoor sound source localization using a microphone array embedded in an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). In addition to sound source localization, sound source enhancement and robust communication method are also described. This system is one instance of deployment of our continuously developing open source software for robot audition called HARK (Honda Research Institute Japan Audition for Robots with Kyoto University). To improve the robustness against outdoor acoustic noise, we propose to combine two sound source localization methods based on MUSIC (multiple signal classification) to cope with trade-off between latency and noise robustness. The standard Eigenvalue decomposition based MUSIC (SEVD-MUSIC) has smaller latency but less noise robustness, whereas the incremental generalized singular value decomposition based MUSIC (iGSVD-MUSIC) has higher noise robustness but larger latency. A UAV operator can use an appropriate method according to the situation. A sound enhancement method called online robust principal component analysis (ORPCA) enables the operator to detect a target sound source more easily. To improve the stability of wireless communication, and robustness of the UAV system against weather changes, we developed data compression based on free lossless audio codec (FLAC) extended to support a 16 ch audio data stream via UDP, and developed a water-resistant microphone array. The resulting system successfully worked in an outdoor search and rescue task in ImPACT Tough Robotics Challenge in November 2016.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationIROS 2017 - IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems
    PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
    Number of pages6
    ISBN (Electronic)9781538626825
    Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 13
    Event2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2017 - Vancouver, Canada
    Duration: 2017 Sept 242017 Sept 28


    Other2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2017

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Control and Systems Engineering
    • Software
    • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
    • Computer Science Applications


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