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An adaptive vision-based autopilot for mini flying machines guidance, navigation and control

Abstract : The design of reliable navigation and control systems for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) based only on visual cues and inertial data has many unsolved challenging problems, ranging from hardware and software development to pure control-theoretical issues. This paper addresses these issues by developing and implementing an adaptive visionbased autopilot for navigation and control of small and mini rotorcraft UAVs. The proposed autopilot includes a Visual Odometer (VO) for navigation in GPS-denied environments and a nonlinear control system for flight control and target tracking. The VO estimates the rotorcraft ego-motion by identifying and tracking visual features in the environment, using a single camera mounted on-board the vehicle. The VO has been augmented by an adaptive mechanism that fuses optic flow and inertial measurements to determine the range and to recover the 3D position and velocity of the vehicle. The adaptive VO pose estimates are then exploited by a nonlinear hierarchical controller for achieving various navigational tasks such as take-off, landing, hovering, trajectory tracking, target tracking, etc. Furthermore, the asymptotic stability of the entire closed-loop system has been established using systems in cascade and adaptive control theories. Experimental flight test data over various ranges of the flight envelope illustrate that the proposed vision-based autopilot performs well and allows a mini rotorcraft UAV to achieve autonomously advanced flight behaviours by using vision.
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Contributor : Isabelle Fantoni <>
Submitted on : Sunday, January 10, 2010 - 11:37:25 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, July 4, 2018 - 4:44:02 PM
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Farid Kendoul, Kenzo Nonami, Isabelle Fantoni, Rogelio Lozano. An adaptive vision-based autopilot for mini flying machines guidance, navigation and control. Autonomous Robots, Springer Verlag, 2009, 27 (3), pp.165-188. ⟨10.1007/s10514-009-9135-x⟩. ⟨hal-00445648⟩



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