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PhD Students


ETH Zürich
Universitätstrasse 6
CH-8092 Zürich

Department of Computer Science
Computer Vision and Geometry Group
CAB G 85.2
Google Plus: +LorenzMeier
LinkedIn: Profile

Research Interests

I'm working on mobile localization and 3D reconstruction on smartphones and micro air vehicles. I started my aerial robotics project, PIXHAWK, in 2009 as a master student. It is by now an on hardware autopilot anyone can use (open hardware website, research website). I participated in the sFly EU research project 2011-2012 and I'm currently mostly working on making drones more intelligent, safe and reliable. I'm focusing my efforts on the open source and open hardware PX4 autopilot platform. I've completed my PhD early 2017.


  • 2008 — ETH Excellence and Opportunity Award - two year full scholarship for master studies and a personal research project (PIXHAWK).
  • 2009 — 1st Place EMAV 2009 Indoor Autonomy with my PIXHAWK student team (Photos)
  • 2010 — 2nd Place IMAV 2010 Indoor Autonomy, Rotary Wing with my PIXHAWK student team (Photos)
  • 2011 — ABB Research Prize for master thesis "Fast and Robust Localization and Mapping on Micro Air Vehicles" (ABB Press Release)
  • 2012 — Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship for research on visual-inertial motion tracking on mobile devices
  • 2014 — Amazon Prime Air undirected gift for research on obstacle avoidance on drones
  • 2016 — ETH Pioneer Fellowship for industry transfer of obstacle avoidance on drones
  • 2017 — MIT TR Innovator 35 under 35 Honoree for the contributions on open source drones (PX4)

Turning Mobile Phones into 3D Scanners

ZURICH.MINDS Talk on Open Hardware

Semester / Master Theses (ETH Students)

You can do semester, bachelor or master theses as well as D-ITET group projects and D-MAVT focus projects with me.


  • Lorenz Meier. Dynamic Robot Architecture for Robust Realtime Computer Vision. PhD thesis ETH, 2017.(PDF, BibTex)
  • Lorenz Meier, Dominik Honegger, Vilhjalmur Vilhjalmsson and Marc Pollefeys. Real-time Stereo Matching Failure Prediction and Resolution using Orthogonal Stereo Setups, ICRA (Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation) 2017.(PDF, BibTex)
  • Lorenz Meier, Dominik Honegger and Marc Pollefeys. PX4: A Node-Based Multithreaded Open Source Robotics Framework for Deeply Embedded Platforms, ICRA (Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation) 2015.(PDF, BibTex)
  • Lionel Heng, Dominik Honegger, Gim Hee Lee, Lorenz Meier, Petri Tanskanen, Friedrich Fraundorfer, and Marc Pollefeys, Autonomous Visual Mapping and Exploration With a Micro Aerial Vehicle, Journal of Field Robotics (JFR), 31(4):654-675, 2014. (PDF)
  • Dominik Honegger, Lorenz Meier, Petri Tanskanen and Marc Pollefeys. An Open Source and Open Hardware Embedded Metric Optical Flow CMOS Camera for Indoor and Outdoor Applications, ICRA2013.
  • Friedrich Fraundorfer, Lionel Heng, Dominik Honegger, Gim Hee Lee, Lorenz Meier, Petri Tanskanen, and Marc Pollefeys. Vision-Based Autonomous Mapping and Exploration Using a Quadrotor MAV, Proc. IEEE/RSJ Int. Conf. on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2012. (PDF)
  • Dominik Honegger, Lorenz Meier, Petri Tanskanen, Pierre Greisen, and Marc Pollefeys. Real-time velocity estimation based on optical flow and disparity matching, Proc. IEEE/RSJ Int. Conf. on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2012. (PDF)
  • Lorenz Meier, Petri Tanskanen, Friedrich Fraundorfer, and Marc Pollefeys. PIXHAWK: A system for autonomous flight using onboard computer vision, Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2011 IEEE International Conference on , vol., no., pp.2992-2997, 9-13 May 2011 doi: 10.1109/ICRA.2011.5980229 (PDF, BibTex)
  • Lionel Heng, Lorenz Meier, Petri Tanskanen, Friedrich Fraundorfer, and Marc Pollefeys. Autonomous Obstacle Avoidance and Maneuvering on a Vision-Guided MAV Using On-Board Processing, In International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2011. (PDF)
  • Lorenz Meier, Petri Tanskanen, Lionel Heng, Gim Hee Lee, Friedrich Fraundorfer, and Marc Pollefeys. Pixhawk: A micro aerial vehicle design for autonomous flight using onboard computer vision. Autonomous Robots (AURO), 2012. (PDF, BibTex)
  • Florian Mansmann, Lorenz Meier, and Daniel Keim. "Graph-based monitoring of host behavior for network security." Proc. Visualization for Cyper Security (VIZSEC) (2007): 187-202.

Open Source

I maintain and contribute to a number of open source projects. SEE THE VIDEOS BELOW!.
  • PX4 Autopilot - High-perfomance, open hardware/software, low cost, POSIX inspired autopilot (PX4FMU) for micro air vehicles. Core developer / maintainer
  • QGroundControl - an user interface (GUI) to small unmanned aerial vehicles. Main developer / maintainer
  • MAVLink - communication library for small-to-large robotic vehicles. Main developer / maintainer
  • MAVCONN - Linux/Unix/Posix middleware for micro air vehicles, uses MAVLink as message format. Core developer / maintainer


Overview video of the PX4 Autopilot Hardware and Flight (2012)

Autonomous pure vision based exploration (IROS 2012)

ZURICH.MINDS Talk on "A Vision for Autonomous Flight"

PX4 Open Source Project Autonomous Multicopter Flight

sFly ETH EU Project Video — joint work with ETH ASL and EU partners (2012)

Autonomous Flight using Computer Vision in Natural Indoor and Outdoor Environments (2011)

QGroundControl Operator Control Unit (2011)

Interactive, autonomous PIXHAWK Demo at the European Computer Vision Conference (ECCV 2010)

Autonomous marker based flight (IMAV 2010)

PIXHAWK at onboard pattern recognition (EMAV 2009)

PIXHAWK won the 1st place in the Indoor Competition at EMAV 2009, Delft, Netherlands.

Student Theses

With more than 50 students in the PIXHAWK team over ten semesters the project has a successful track of student theses. Students can do master theses, semester theses, bachelor theses and research in computer science projects with us. We're welcoming computer science, robotics, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering students with a focus in computer vision, robotics, control and electronics design.

Open theses

If you're interested in one of these theses, please contact me via email (lm

Completed and Ongoing Theses (since 2011)

  • Precision Survival Kit Delivery with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle [PDF], semester thesis, co-advised with Philipp Oettershagen / ASL / Prof. Roland Siegwart
  • Finding Outback Joe — Julian Oes / HS 2013, Master thesis
  • See and Avoid on Micro Air Vehicles — Thomas Gubler / FS 2013 ([PDF], Master thesis, co-advised with Javier Alonso Mora / ASL / Prof. Roland Siegwart)
  • Obstacle avoidance using highspeed optical flow — Samuel Zihlmann / HS2012 (Master thesis)
  • PX4 Autopilot Quadrotor GPS Flight — Damian Aregger / HS 2012 (Sem. Project)
  • PX4 Autopilot System Design — Thomas Gubler, Julian Oes / FS 2012 (Sem. Project)
  • PX4 Autopilot Airplane GPS Flight — Nils Wenzler, Ivan Ovinnikov / FS 2012 (D-ITET group project)
  • Realtime optical flow and stereo on FPGA hardware — Dominik Honegger / HS 2011 (Master thesis)
  • People detection and tracking — Benjamin Flueck / HS 2011 (Bachelor thesis)
  • Quadrotor Control Design — Laurens Mackay / HS 2011 (Semester thesis)

Teaching Assistant

  • Computer Vision Lab (D-INFK) — HS2011
  • Informatik I (D-MAVT) — FS2012
  • Computer Vision Lab (D-INFK) — HS2012
  • Informatik I (D-MAVT) — FS2013
  • Computer Vision Lab (D-INFK) — HS2013

© CVG, ETH Zürich