Autonomous Flight with Optical Flow Camera without GPS


I want to do autonomous route tracking without GPS with Optical Flow Camera. As far as I know and understand, modes such as “Loiter” or “FlowHold” are used without GPS with the Optical flow camera.

But what I want to do is to have autonomous route tracking and flight with an optical flow camera connected to Pixhawk (Additional Lidar can be added).

If possible, is there a document/article/forum topic that explains in detail how to do it?

thanks and regards.

Yes, there are. Please search, but I can already tell you that will have limitations and probably not behave like you want. Optical flow is a poor replacement for GPS.

GPS delivers an absolute position. Optical flow provides a relative position and the errors accumulate faster than you wish them to. And the flight height is limited by the lidar. And the lidar must be accurate. And the terrain should be flat. And … And … And . Lots of conditions.


optical flow is like counting steps with your eyes closed to navigate, its fine for standing still or very short distances but as soon as you try and do any distance you will quickly get lost without an external position source like GPS to correct the build up of small errors.

you would need something like AI camera ground tracking to do what you it can identify whats under it to figure out where it is, not just use optical flow see movement relative to it.


If you want good results you should take a look at Visual Inertial Odometry and map matching.

1 Like

if you have access to the area then you could use radio becons as an external reference.

1 Like