Deep Learning on Home Drone: Searching for the Optimal Architecture

Alaa Maalouf, Yotam Gurfinkel, Barak Diker, Oren Gal, Daniela Rus, Dan Feldman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


We suggest the first system that runs real-time semantic segmentation via deep learning on the weak microcomputer Raspberry Pi Zero v2 (whose price was $15) attached to a toy drone. In particular, since the Raspberry Pi weighs less than 16 grams, and its size is half of a credit card, we could easily attach it to the common commercial DJI Tello toy-drone (<$100, <90 grams, 98 x 92.5 x 41 mm). The result is an autonomous drone (no laptop nor human in the loop) that can detect and classify objects in real-time from a video stream of an onboard monocular RGB camera (no GPS or LIDAR sensors). The companion videos demonstrate how this Tello drone scans the lab for people (e.g. for the use of firefighters or security forces) and for an empty parking slot outside the lab. Existing deep learning solutions are either much too slow for real-time computation on such IoT devices, or provide results of impractical quality. Our main challenge was to design a system that takes the best of all worlds among numerous combinations of networks, deep learning platforms/frameworks, compression techniques, and compression ratios. To this end, we provide an efficient searching algorithm that aims to find the optimal combination which results in the best tradeoff between the network running time and its accuracy/performance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - ICRA 2023
Subtitle of host publicationIEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9798350323658
StatePublished - 2023
Event2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2023 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 29 May 20232 Jun 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
ISSN (Print)1050-4729


Conference2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 IEEE.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence


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