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A vision system for landing an unmanned aerial vehicle

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3 Author(s)
Sharp, C.S. ; Dept. of Electr. Eng. & Comput. Sci., California Univ., Berkeley, CA, USA ; Shakernia, O. ; Sastry, S.S.

We present the design and implementation of a real-time computer vision system for a rotorcraft unmanned aerial vehicle to land onto a known landing target. This vision system consists of customized software and off-the-shelf hardware which perform image processing, segmentation, feature point extraction, camera pan/tilt control, and motion estimation. We introduce the design of a landing target which significantly simplifies the computer vision tasks such as corner detection and correspondence matching. Customized algorithms are developed to allow for realtime computation at a frame rate of 30 Hz. Such algorithms include certain linear and nonlinear optimization schemes for model-based camera pose estimation. We present results from an actual flight test which show the vision-based state estimates are accurate to within 5 cm in each axis of translation, and 5 degrees in each axis of rotation, making vision a viable sensor to be placed in the control loop of a hierarchical flight management system.

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Robotics and Automation, 2001. Proceedings 2001 ICRA. IEEE International Conference on  (Volume:2 )

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