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We present the design and implementation of a real-time vision-based approach to detect and track features in a structured environment using an autonomous helicopter. Using vision as a sensor enables the helicopter to track features in an urban environment. We use vision for feature detection and a combination of vision and GPS for navigation and tracking. The vision algorithm sends high level velocity commands to the helicopter controller which is then able to command the helicopter to track them. We present results obtained from flight trials that demonstrate our algorithms for detection and tracking are applicable in real world scenarios by applying them to the task of tracking rectangular features in structured environments.
Date of Conference: 18-22 April 2005