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Obstacle avoidance for small UAVs using monocular vision

Jeong‐Oog Lee (Aerospace Information Engineering, Konkuk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Keun‐Hwan Lee (Aerospace Information Engineering, Konkuk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Sang‐Heon Park (Pohang Institute of Intelligent Robotics, Gyeongbuk, Republic of Korea)
Sung‐Gyu Im (Aerospace Information Engineering, Konkuk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Jungkeun Park (Aerospace Information Engineering, Konkuk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Publication date: 18 October 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose that the three‐dimensional information of obstacles should be identified to allow unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to detect and avoid obstacles existing in their flight path.

Design/methodology/approach

First, the approximate outline of obstacles was detected using multi‐scale‐oriented patches (MOPS). At the same time, the spatial coordinates of feature points that exist in the internal outline of the obstacles were calculated through the scale‐invariant feature transform (SIFT) algorithm. Finally, the results from MOPS and the results from the SIFT algorithm were merged to show the three‐dimensional information of the obstacles.

Findings

As the method proposed in this paper reconstructs only the approximate outline of obstacles, a quick calculation can be done. Moreover, as the outline information is combined through SIFT feature points, detailed three‐dimensional information pertaining to the obstacles can be obtained.

Practical implications

The proposed approach can be used efficiently in GPS‐denied environments such as certain indoor environments.

Originality/value

For the autonomous flight of small UAVs having a payload limit, this paper suggests a means of forming three‐dimensional information about obstacles with images obtained from a monocular camera.

Keywords

Citation

Lee, J., Lee, K., Park, S., Im, S. and Park, J. (2011), "Obstacle avoidance for small UAVs using monocular vision", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 83 No. 6, pp. 397-406. https://doi.org/10.1108/00022661111173270

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited