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Proceedings Paper

World representations for unmanned vehicles
Author(s): Gregory S. Broten; Simon P. Monckton; David Mackay; Jack Collier
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Paper Abstract

Unmanned vehicles (UxV) operate in numerous environments, with air, ground and marine representing the majority of the implementations. All unmanned vehicles, when traversing unknown space, have similar requirements. They must sense their environment, create a world representation, and, then plan a path that safely avoids obstacles and hazards. Traditionally, each unmanned vehicle class used environment specific assumptions to create a unique world representation that was tailored to it operating environment. Thus, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) used the simplest possible world representation, where all space above the ground plane was free of obstacles. Conversely, an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) required a world representation that was suitable to its complex and unstructured environment. Such a clear cut differentiation between UAV and UGV environments is no longer valid as UAVs have migrated down to elevations where terrestrial structures are located. Thus, the operating environment for a low flying UAV contains similarities to the environments experienced by UGVs. As a result, the world representation techniques and algorithms developed for UGVs are now applicable to UAVs, since low flying UAVs must sense and represent its world in order to avoid obstacles. Defence R&D Canada (DRDC) conducts research and development in both the UGV and UAV fields. Researchers have developed a platform neutral world representation, based upon a uniform 21/2-D elevation grid, that is applicable to many UxV classes, including aerial and ground vehicles. This paper describes DRDC's generic world representation, known as the Global Terrain map, and provides an example of unmanned ground vehicle implementation, along with details of it applicability to aerial vehicles.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 May 2007
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6561, Unmanned Systems Technology IX, 65611X (8 May 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.716341
Show Author Affiliations
Gregory S. Broten, Defence Research and Development Canada-Suffield (Canada)
Simon P. Monckton, Defence Research and Development Canada-Suffield (Canada)
David Mackay, Defence Research and Development Canada-Suffield (Canada)
Jack Collier, Defence Research and Development Canada-Suffield (Canada)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6561:
Unmanned Systems Technology IX
Grant R. Gerhart; Douglas W. Gage; Charles M. Shoemaker, Editor(s)

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