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Vision-based pose estimation of a multi-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle

Kashish Gupta (School of Engineering, University of British Columbia, Kelowna, Canada)
Bara Jamal Emran (School of Engineering, University of British Columbia, Kelowna, Canada)
Homayoun Najjaran (School of Engineering, University of British Columbia, Kelowna, Canada)

International Journal of Intelligent Unmanned Systems

ISSN: 2049-6427

Article publication date: 2 April 2019

Issue publication date: 13 June 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to facilitate autonomous landing of a multi-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on a moving/tilting platform using a robust vision-based approach.

Design/methodology/approach

Autonomous landing of a multi-rotor UAV on a moving or tilting platform of unknown orientation in a GPS-denied and vision-compromised environment presents a challenge to common autopilot systems. The paper proposes a robust visual data processing system based on targets’ Oriented FAST and Rotated BRIEF features to estimate the UAV’s three-dimensional pose in real time.

Findings

The system is able to visually locate and identify the unique landing platform based on a cooperative marker with an error rate of 1° or less for all roll, pitch and yaw angles.

Practical implications

The proposed vision-based system aims at on-board use and increased reliability without a significant change to the computational load of the UAV.

Originality/value

The simplicity of the training procedure gives the process the flexibility needed to use a marker of any unknown/irregular shape or dimension. The process can be easily tweaked to respond to different cooperative markers. The on-board computationally inexpensive process can be added to off-the-shelf autopilots.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) under the Discovery Grant program, and MITACS under the Globalink and Graduate Fellowship program.

Citation

Gupta, K., Emran, B.J. and Najjaran, H. (2019), "Vision-based pose estimation of a multi-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle", International Journal of Intelligent Unmanned Systems, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 120-132. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJIUS-10-2018-0030

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited