Drone-Augmented Human Vision: Exocentric Control for Drones Exploring Hidden Areas

Okan Erat, Werner Alexander Isop, Denis Kalkofen, Dieter Schmalstieg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Drones allow exploring dangerous or impassable areas safely from a distant point of view. However, flight control from an egocentric view in narrow or constrained environments can be challenging. Arguably, an exocentric view would afford a better overview and, thus, more intuitive flight control of the drone. Unfortunately, such an exocentric view is unavailable when exploring indoor environments. This paper investigates the potential of drone-Augmented human vision, i.e., of exploring the environment and controlling the drone indirectly from an exocentric viewpoint. If used with a see-Through display, this approach can simulate X-ray vision to provide a natural view into an otherwise occluded environment. The user's view is synthesized from a three-dimensional reconstruction of the indoor environment using image-based rendering. This user interface is designed to reduce the cognitive load of the drone's flight control. The user can concentrate on the exploration of the inaccessible space, while flight control is largely delegated to the drone's autopilot system. We assess our system with a first experiment showing how drone-Augmented human vision supports spatial understanding and improves natural interaction with the drone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1437-1446
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Drone
  • Hololens
  • Mixed reality
  • Pick-And-place
  • X-ray


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