Matthias Fässler

MSc ETH Zurich

Robotics and Perception Group

Department of Informatics

University of Zurich

Email: faessler (at) ifi (dot) uzh (dot) ch

Office: Andreasstrasse 15, AND 2.16

I am a Ph.D. student at the Robotics and Perception Group led by Prof. Davide Scaramuzza since December 2012. Currently, I am working on air-ground collaboration, quadrotor state estimation and control. I received my Bachelor's and my Master's degree in mechanical engineering from ETH Zürich in 2010 and 2012, respectively. During my studies at ETH, I was focusing on robotics and control.

Research Interests

Quadrotor Control for Autonomous Navigation

We develop control strategies for quadrotors that allow them to navigate autonomously without the use of any external system (e.g. GPS). Video teasers of the capabilities of our quadrotors can be found here and here.

Robotic Air-Ground Collaboration

We develop strategies for aerial and ground robots to work together as a team. By doing so, the robots can profit from each others capabilites. A collaboration in a search and rescue scenario is demonstrated in our Aerial-guided Navigation of a Ground Robot among Movable Obstacles video and a playful collaboration can be seen in our Easter Video.


  • M. Faessler, F. Fontana, C. Forster, E. Mueggler, M. Pizzoli and D. Scaramuzza, Autonomous, Vision-based Flight and Live Dense 3D Mapping with a Quadrotor Micro Aerial Vehicle, Journal of Field Robotics, 2016. [ PDF ]
  • M. Faessler, F. Fontana, C. Forster and D. Scaramuzza, Automatic Re-Initialization and Failure Recovery for Aggressive Flight with a Monocular Vision-Based Quadrotor, Proc. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2015, Seattle. [ PDF ]
  • C. Forster, M. Faessler, F. Fontana, M. Werlberger, D. Scaramuzza, Continuous On-Board Monocular-Vision-based Elevation Mapping Applied to Autonomous Landing of Micro Aerial Vehicles, Proc. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2015, Seattle. [ PDF ]
  • E. Mueggler, M. Faessler, F. Fontana and D. Scaramuzza, Aerial-guided Navigation of a Ground Robot among Movable Obstacles, IEEE International Symposium on Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics (SSRR), Toyako-cho, 2014. [ PDF ] [ Video ] [ Presentation at AUTOMATICA ]
  • M. Faessler, E. Mueggler, K. Schwabe and D. Scaramuzza, A Monocular Pose Estimation System based on Infrared LEDs, Proc. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2014, Hong Kong. [ PDF ] [ Video ] [ Code ]


Supervised Student Projects

  • Kevin Egger: On-board Height Estimation for Quadrotors (Semester Thesis - ongoing)
  • Raphael Meyer: Design of a Custom Quadrotor Platform (Master Thesis - ongoing)
  • Michael Gassner: Aggressive Maneuvers with Quadrotors (Master Thesis 2015)
  • Astrid Schlestein: System Identification and Model Based State Estimation for Quadrotors (Master Thesis 2014)
  • Maximilian Schulz: Robust Emergency Procedures for Quadrotors (Semester Thesis 2014)
  • Adrian Rechy Romero: Self-Calibration for Quadrotors (Semester Thesis 2014)
  • Raphael Meyer: Design of Custom Interface Electronics for Quadrotors (Semester Thesis 2014)
  • Karl Schwabe: A Monocular Pose Estimation System based on Infrared LEDs (Master Thesis 2013) [ PDF ] [ Video ] [ Code ]
  • Benjamin Keiser: Torque Control of a KUKA youBot Arm (Master Thesis 2013) [ PDF ] [ Video ] [ Code ]

Projects during Master's

Modeling, Control and Trajectory Tracking with a CoaX Helicopter (Master Thesis)

I accomplished my Master thesis as part of a ten month stay at the GRASP Lab at the University of Pennsylvania. There, I was working with Vijay Kumar on the modeling and control of small coaxial helicopters. Specifically, the project included the development of the framework that enables autonomous flight in a Vicon motion capture system using ROS (Robot Operating System) and Matlab. Then, I extended existing mathematical models in order to capture the helicopter's dynamics more accurately, especially in nonhover conditions. With the extended model, I designed a novel nonlinear controller, which allows following trajectories with large accelerations. Finally, I implemented a first approach of a method for generating smooth trajectories, which can also deal with obstacles in the flight path.

Estimation of Ball Coefficient of Restitution for the Blind Juggler (Semester Thesis)

During my Master studies, I completed my semester thesis in Raffaello D'Andrea's research group at ETH Zurich. I worked with the Blind Juggler, which is a robot that can vertically juggle a ball without any sensing of the ball. My work involved the development of a measurement setup in order to identify parameters of the impact model. I then used the identified parameters to compute juggling paddle motions that allow aggressive changes of the juggling height while minimizing the required paddle stroke.