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Vision-based detection and tracking of aerial targets for UAV collision avoidance

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4 Author(s)
Mejias, L. ; Australian Res. Centre for Aerosp. Autom., Queensland Univ. of Technol., Brisbane, QLD, Australia ; McNamara, S. ; Lai, J. ; Ford, J.

Machine vision represents a particularly attractive solution for sensing and detecting potential collision-course targets due to the relatively low cost, size, weight, and power requirements of the sensors involved (as opposed to radar). This paper describes the development and evaluation of a vision-based collision detection algorithm suitable for fixed-wing aerial robotics. The system was evaluated using highly realistic vision data of the moments leading up to a collision. Based on the collected data, our detection approaches were able to detect targets at distances ranging from 400m to about 900m. These distances (with some assumptions about closing speeds and aircraft trajectories) translate to an advanced warning of between 8-10 seconds ahead of impact, which approaches the 12.5 second response time recommended for human pilots. We make use of the enormous potential of graphic processing units to achieve processing rates of 30Hz (for images of size 1024-by-768). Currently, integration in the final platform is under way.

Published in:

Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2010 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on

Date of Conference:

18-22 Oct. 2010