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The wide range of applications and configurations of UAVs raises the need for different types of navigation methodologies compared to the conventional INS/GPS system. For instance, the limitation in cost, size and weight of indoor UAVs makes conventional navigation system unsuitable for these vehicles. In addition, the INS/GPS navigation system is impractical for indoor applications because the GPS signal is not reliable in closed territories. This paper proposes a new, cost-effective and simple indoor navigation system using three laser beams fixed to the body of the UAV and shooting to the ground. Then, a camera and computer vision algorithm are used to capture the laser dots on the ground and determine their coordinates. The position of laser dots is used to obtain full information about the position and orientation of the UAV. The proposed navigation system can be classified as a vision based navigation system, yet, it does not depend highly on the quality of the video shots taken from the vision camera and does not require a heavy image processing algorithm. An illustrative simulation study is conducted to demonstrate the validity of the proposed navigation system.
Date of Conference: 20-23 June 2011