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Proceedings Paper

OCTAVE: a bioinspired visuo-motor control system for the guidance of micro-air-vehicles
Author(s): Franck Ruffier; Nicolas Franceschini
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Paper Abstract

We have developed a visually based autopilot for Micro Air Vehicles (MAV), which we have called OCTAVE (Optical altitude Control sysTem for Autonomous VEhicles). First we built a miniature MAV and an indoor test-bed. The mini-helicopter is tethered to a whirling arm and rotates around a central pole equipped with ground-truth positioning sensors for experimental evaluation. The 100-gram rotorcraft lifts itself by means of a single rotor that can also be tilted forward (pitch) to give the craft a horizontal thrust component (propulsive force). The helicopter’s eye is automatically oriented downwards over an environment composed of contrasting features randomly arranged on the floor. Here we show the feasibility of a ground avoiding system based on a low complexity opto-electronic system. The latter relies on an Elementary Motion Detector (EMD) that estimates the optic flow in the downward direction. The EMD functional structure is directly inspired by that of the fly’s EMDs, the functional scheme of which has been elucidated at our Laboratory by performing electrophysiological recordings while applying optical microstimuli to the retina. The OCTAVE autopilot makes the aircraft capable of effective terrain following at various speeds: the MAV performs reproducible manoeuvers such as smooth cruise flight over a planar ground and hill climbing. The overall processing electronics is very light-weight, which makes it highly suitable for mounting on-board micro air vehicles with an avionic payload in the order of only a few grams.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 April 2003
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5119, Bioengineered and Bioinspired Systems, (18 April 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.498193
Show Author Affiliations
Franck Ruffier, CNRS/Univ. de la Mediterranee (France)
Nicolas Franceschini, CNRS/Univ. de la Mediterranee (France)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5119:
Bioengineered and Bioinspired Systems
Angel Rodriguez-Vazquez; Derek Abbott; Ricardo Carmona, Editor(s)

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