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Proceedings Paper

Draper Laboratory small autonomous aerial vehicle
Author(s): Paul A. DeBitetto; Eric N. Johnson; Michael C. Bosse; Christian A. Trott
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Paper Abstract

The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc. and students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston University have cooperated to develop an autonomous aerial vehicle that won the 1996 International Aerial Robotics Competition. This paper describes the approach, system architecture and subsystem designs for the entry. This entry represents a combination of many technology areas: navigation, guidance, control, vision processing, human factors, packaging, power, real-time software, and others. The aerial vehicle, an autonomous helicopter, performs navigation and control functions using multiple sensors: differential GPS, inertial measurement unit, sonar altimeter, and a flux compass. The aerial transmits video imagery to the ground. A ground based vision processor converts the image data into target position and classification estimates. The system was designed, built, and flown in less than one year and has provided many lessons about autonomous vehicle systems, several of which are discussed. In an appendix, our current research in augmenting the navigation system with vision- based estimates is presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 June 1997
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 3088, Enhanced and Synthetic Vision 1997, (26 June 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.277228
Show Author Affiliations
Paul A. DeBitetto, Charles Stark Draper Lab., Inc. (United States)
Eric N. Johnson, Charles Stark Draper Lab., Inc. (United States)
Michael C. Bosse, Boston Univ. (United States)
Christian A. Trott, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3088:
Enhanced and Synthetic Vision 1997
Jacques G. Verly, Editor(s)

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