GPS/Optical/Inertial Integration for 3D Navigation Using Multi-Copter Platforms

Evan T. Dill and Steven D. Young, Maarten Uijt de Haag

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: In concert with the continued advancement of a UAS traffic management system (UTM), the proposed uses of autonomous unmanned aerial systems (UAS) have become more prevalent in both the public and private sectors. To facilitate this anticipated growth, a reliable three-dimensional (3D) positioning, navigation, and mapping (PNM) capability will be required to enable operation of these platforms in challenging environments where global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) may not be available continuously. Especially, when the platform’s mission requires maneuvering through different and difficult environments like outdoor open-sky, outdoor under foliage, outdoor-urban and indoor, and may include transitions between these environments. There may not be a single method to solve the PNM problem for all environments. The research presented in this paper is a subset of a broader research effort, described in [1]. The research is focused on combining data from dissimilar sensor technologies to create an integrated navigation and mapping method that can enable reliable operation in both an outdoor and structured indoor environment. The integrated navigation and mapping design is utilizes a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), a monocular digital camera, and three short to medium range laser scanners. This paper describes specifically the techniques necessary to effectively integrate the monocular camera data within the established mechanization. To evaluate the developed algorithms a hexacopter was built, equipped with the discussed sensors, and both hand-carried and flown through representative environments. This paper highlights the effect that the monocular camera has on the aforementioned sensor integration scheme’s reliability, accuracy and availability.
Published in: Proceedings of the ION 2017 Pacific PNT Meeting
May 1 - 4, 2017
Marriott Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa
Honolulu, Hawaii
Pages: 1093 - 1103
Cite this article: Dill, Evan T., Young, Steven D., de Haag, Maarten Uijt, "GPS/Optical/Inertial Integration for 3D Navigation Using Multi-Copter Platforms," Proceedings of the ION 2017 Pacific PNT Meeting, Honolulu, Hawaii, May 2017, pp. 1093-1103. https://doi.org/10.33012/2017.15023
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