Eric A. Olsen, Chan-Woo Park, and Jonathan P. How

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: This paper describes research on three-dimensional 3D formation flight using carrier-differential GPS sensors. Although absolute position at the centimeter level is generally not possible in real time, relative position between vehicles within the formation can be obtained at these levels of accuracy using carrier-phase differencing. However, several challenges, including solving for the integer biases, must be met before these measurements can be used in the formation state estimation. A method for generating a formation maneuver to rapidly solve for these biases is presented. A new testbed has been developed to better understand the problems associated with 3D formation flight. This testbed currently consists of two lighter-than-air vehicles blimps that operate in an indoor GPS laboratory. Operating indoors has several advantages, but also presents some significant challenges. A description of both the indoor environment and the GPS receiver developed for this application is given. Finally, experimental results are presented for a single blimp performing a large-scale autonomous flight and landing maneuvers. Data is also presented for the two-vehicle formation performing several maneuvers.
Published in: NAVIGATION: Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 46, Number 1
Pages: 35 - 48
Cite this article: Olsen, Eric A., Park, Chan-Woo, How, Jonathan P., "3D FORMATION FLIGHT USING DIFFERENTIAL CARRIER-PHASE GPS SENSORS", NAVIGATION: Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 46, No. 1, Spring 1999, pp. 35-48.
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