Visual Saliency Exploration Planner
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The repo aims to provide a planning algorithm and relevant packages to enable a saliency--aware autonomous exploration task for aerial robots.

How to build the planner

Create a new catkin workspace and clone all modules into that workspace.

mkdir vsep_ws && cd vsep_ws && mkdir src && cd src
git clone
git submodule update --init --recursive
cd ..
catkin config -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release
catkin build

We tested this repo with ROS Jade on Ubuntu 14.04, update for newer versions like ROS Kinetic will come soon.

To run the algorithm in the Gazebo simulation environment

First, unzip the in the planner folder into the ./gazebo folder:

unzip && mv gallery_plane gallery_wall painting_wall ~/.gazebo/models

Then, launch the simulation file:

roslaunch ./src/launch/sim_vsep.launch

Test with real datasets

We provided here two datasets recored onboard of a MAV. (More details are explained here). To test the planner, please run the rosbags as well as launching a file:

rosbag play VSEP_Arena.bag --clock
roslaunch ./src/launch/mav_vsep_arena_offline.launch

and use a ros service command shown as below to trigger the planner.

rosservice call /vseplanner '{header: {stamp: now, frame_id: world}}'

If you use this software in a scientific publication, please cite the following paper:

  title={Visual Saliency-aware Receding Horizon Autonomous Exploration with Application to Aerial Robotics},
  author={Dang, Tung and Papachristos, Christos and Alexis, Kostas},
  booktitle={2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)},
  pages={to appear},


You can contact us for any question or remark: