On-board navigation for small MAVs in ship-borne environments
The goal of this effort is to build a fully on-board vision based navigation system for small micro air vehicles (SMAVs) that will allow autonomous flight and navigation in a ship-borne environment. The target platform is a hovering air vehicle of 7cm to 20cm in size with a payload capacity between 2 and 10 grams. Short range navigation, e.g. stability, relative orientation, and obstacle avoidance, will be provided by a vision system using a combination of optical flow, parallax, stereo vision, and optionally structured light. Long range navigation will be provided by a topological map coupled with SLAM-derived 3D odometry algorithms. The most significant challenge is fitting such capabilities, which have been demonstrated on much larger platforms, into the SMAV"s payload constraint, while operating at the higher update rate typically required of such smaller platforms. To do this, we propose using Centeye"s"vertical integration"methodology to fabricate hardware specifically for air vehicles of this class. In the base effort we will use bench tests to explore methods of implementing relevant sensing methods to meet payload capacities. In the option effort we will flight test select methods, in an open loop fashion, on our current 18cm helicopter test bed.
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