UAV Navigation’s visual system reduces dead-reckoning error

April 29, 2020  - By

UAV Navigation has developed a Visual Navigation System (VNS) that reduces the accumulated positional error during dead-reckoning navigation. The VNS leverages visual odometry techniques to determine the position and orientation of the aircraft by analyzing and processing the images captured by a camera installed on its underside.

Initial testing in real-time flight conditions has been a success, reports UAV Navigation. The system integrates well with the company’s flight-control solution to improve navigation in GNSS-denied environments.

Vector autopilot. (Photo: UAV Navigation)

Vector autopilot. (Photo: UAV Navigation)

UAV Navigation’s sensors are tolerant toward GNSS failures (typically, in GNSS-denied scenarios) and can operate in dead-reckoning mode without compromising flight safety. However, a prolonged GNSS failure can lead to a significant navigation drift, and this is where the VNS comes in.

The VNS system includes a simple belly-mounted camera and image processing computer. Images from the camera are processed by a lightweight onboard computer, translating them into a relative change in the aircraft position. This information can be combined with the inertial sensors to reduce the overall drift to < 1% of the distance traveled, eliminating any drift associated with time.

Combined with the Vector autopilot, the VNS components provide a complete and robust autonomous flight control and navigation solution.

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.