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Proceedings Paper

Integration and flight test of a biomimetic heading sensor
Author(s): Javaan Chahl; Akiko Mizutani
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Paper Abstract

We report on the first successful development and implementation of an automatic polarisation compass as the primary heading sensor for a UAV. Polarisation compassing is the primary navigation sense of many flying and walking insects, including bees, ants and crickets. Manually operated polarisation astrolabes were fitted in some passenger airliners prior to the implementation of the global positioning system, to compensate for the overal degradation of magnetic and gyrocompass sensors in polar regions. The device we developed demonstrated accurate determination of the direction of the Sun, with repeatability of better than 0.2 degrees. These figures are comparable to any solid state magnetic compass, including flux gate based devices. Flight trials were undertaken in which the output of the polarimeter was the only heading reference used by the aircraft as it flew through GPS waypoints.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 April 2013
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 8686, Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2013, 86860E (8 April 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2009680
Show Author Affiliations
Javaan Chahl, Univ. of South Australia (Australia)
Akiko Mizutani, Odonatrix Pty Ltd (Australia)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8686:
Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2013
Raúl J. Martín-Palma, Editor(s)

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