In this paper, we present a novel bi-directional cooperative obstacle avoidance system of heterogeneous unmanned vehicles, consisting of an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) and a microaerial vehicle (MAV), equipped with cameras, operating in an indoor environment without Global Positioning System (GPS) signals. The system demonstrates the synergistic relationship between the two platforms by sharing different perspectives and information collected independently using their on-board sensors in performing a navigation task in an indoor environment, including avoiding obstacles and entering narrow pathways. The MAV uses an aerial view of the environment to develop an obstacle free path for the UGV using the A* algorithm. The UGV deploys the planned path in conjunction with information gathered from its own front facing camera to navigate through a cluttered environment using a Lyapunov stable sliding mode controller. The UGV is responsible for detecting low and narrow pathways and to guide the MAV to move through them. The bidirectional cooperation has been tested in hardware as well as in simulation, showing the system’s effectiveness.

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