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Proceedings Paper

Fully self-contained vision-aided navigation and landing of a micro air vehicle independent from external sensor inputs
Author(s): Roland Brockers; Sara Susca; David Zhu; Larry Matthies
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Paper Abstract

Direct-lift micro air vehicles have important applications in reconnaissance. In order to conduct persistent surveillance in urban environments, it is essential that these systems can perform autonomous landing maneuvers on elevated surfaces that provide high vantage points without the help of any external sensor and with a fully contained on-board software solution. In this paper, we present a micro air vehicle that uses vision feedback from a single down looking camera to navigate autonomously and detect an elevated landing platform as a surrogate for a roof top. Our method requires no special preparation (labels or markers) of the landing location. Rather, leveraging the planar character of urban structure, the landing platform detection system uses a planar homography decomposition to detect landing targets and produce approach waypoints for autonomous landing. The vehicle control algorithm uses a Kalman filter based approach for pose estimation to fuse visual SLAM (PTAM) position estimates with IMU data to correct for high latency SLAM inputs and to increase the position estimate update rate in order to improve control stability. Scale recovery is achieved using inputs from a sonar altimeter. In experimental runs, we demonstrate a real-time implementation running on-board a micro aerial vehicle that is fully self-contained and independent from any external sensor information. With this method, the vehicle is able to search autonomously for a landing location and perform precision landing maneuvers on the detected targets.

Paper Details

Date Published: 25 May 2012
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 8387, Unmanned Systems Technology XIV, 83870Q (25 May 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.919278
Show Author Affiliations
Roland Brockers, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Sara Susca, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
David Zhu, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Larry Matthies, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8387:
Unmanned Systems Technology XIV
Robert E. Karlsen; Douglas W. Gage; Charles M. Shoemaker; Grant R. Gerhart, Editor(s)

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