An UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) is an aircraft flying without an on-board human pilot. For example they can be utilized to explore for human unreachable areas in case of environmental catastrophes like earthquakes and flooding. In most cases, its flight is controlled either by a human or computer pilot via a remote ground-station. Therefore a reliable connection, visual contact and additional hardware for the remote station is required. If these requirements cannot be met, approaches for autonomous localization and navigation are necessary. Therefore, a GPS Signal can be used as ground-truth for positioning. However, for indoor purpose and GPS denied areas, other approaches need to be considered. An alternative approach can be localization based on maps that have been generated on run-time during flight. This requires additional powerful hardware, which has to be carried by the UAV. A powerful device like a conventional Smartphone allows for handling complex applications on a light weighted mobile device. In the following work, the authors demonstrate a flexible, low-weight, low-cost quadrotor platform for autonomous exploration of GPS denied environments. Therefore, a Smartphone is used as central on-board hardware device. Camera, sensors, communication technologies and processing unit are integrated in one common device which allows reduction of weight and costs and migration to newer hardware with low effort. The developed UAV prototype is able to carry a Smartphone and perform steer commands from the on-board device. The implemented Smartphone application enables the UAV to locate itself in an unknown 2D-marker area. A tracking software is used to identify the markers, which are then combined to an internal map during run-time. Based on this map, the UAV is able to localize itself and generate steer commands for autonomous navigation.
C. Kaltenriner, M. Leichtfried: "Autonome Lokalisierung und Navigation eines unbemannten Luftfahrzeugs (UAV) mithilfe eines Smartphones als zentrale Recheneinheit"; Supervisor: H. Kaufmann, A. Mossel; Institut für Softwaretechnik und Interaktive Systeme, E188/2, 2013.
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