Artificial Intelligence for Small Autonomous Robots

Small, light-weight flying robots such as the 20-gram DelFly Explorer form an extreme challenge to Artificial Intelligence, because of the strict limitations in onboard sensors, processing, and memory. I try to uncover general principles of intelligence that will allow such limited, small robots to perform complex tasks.

Computer Vision

Vision is a prime sense for both animals and robots. I create efficient vision algorithms for robot control and navigation.


Fruit flies are able to fly, avoid obstacles, navigate, and socially interact with each other with only a 100,000 neurons. Insects are a rich source of inspiration for elegant, efficient AI.

Real-world Robotics

As Rodney Brooks said: "Simulation is doomed to succeed" - I focus on problems actually faced by robots in the real world.

Open Science

I stand for an open science, in which articles, code and data is openly and more efficiently shared between researchers and the public.

Current research projects

Please click below to have a look at a selection of my current research projects.

Latest News

Drone avoiding obstacles with the help of optical flow. The drone also evaluates the distances to obstacles it sees, so that it can detect obstacles in the flight direction and safely speed up.

Optical flow problems solved by a learning process

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Optical flow for small flying robots Flying insects heavily rely on optical flow for visual navigation and flight control. Roboticists have endowed small flying robots with optical flow control as well, since it requires just a tiny vision sensor. However, when using optical flow, the robots run into problems that insects appear to have overcome. […]

jan 19,2021No Comments

We won the AIRR autonomous drone race!

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On December 6, 2019, the MAVLab team won the AI Robotic Racing (AIRR) world championship, taking home 1 Million dollars in prize money! The AIRR competition was an autonomous drone race season set up by Lockheed Martin and the Drone Racing League, aiming to push the boundaries of AI for robotics. Whereas typically autonomous drones […]

jan 13,2020No Comments
A swarm of tiny drones autonomously explores an unknown environment.

Swarm of tiny drones autonomously explores unknown environments

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We have succeeded in making a swarm of tiny drones that can autonomously explore unknown environments. This achievement, published in Science Robotics on October 23, is a result of a 4-year collaboration with researchers from the University of Liverpool and Radboud University of Nijmegen. The main challenge was that the tiny 33-gram drones need to […]

okt 23,2019No Comments