Date: 09 Mar 2006

Autonomous Landing of an Unmanned Helicopter based on Vision and Inertial Sensing

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Abstract

In this paper we propose an autonomous precision landing method for an unmanned helicopter based on an on-board visual navigation system consisting of a single pan-tilting camera, off-the-shelf computer hardware and inertial sensors. Compared to existing methods, the system doesn’t depend on additional sensors (in particular not on GPS), offers a wide envelope of starting points for the autonomous approach, and is robust to different weather conditions. Helicopter position and attitude is estimated from images of a specially designed landing pad. We provide results from both simulations and flight tests, showing the performance of the vision system and the overall quality of the landing.