EKF Based Attitude Estimation and Stabilization of a Quadrotor UAV Using Vanishing Points in Catadioptric Images

Tarhan M., Altuğ E.

JOURNAL OF INTELLIGENT & ROBOTIC SYSTEMS, vol.62, pp.587-607, 2011 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


In recent years, Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) have become more and more important. These vehicles are employed in many applications from military operations to civilian tasks. Under situations where global positioning system (GPS) and inertial navigation system (INS) do not function, or as an additional sensor, computer vision can be used. Having 360A degrees view, catadioptric cameras might be very useful as they can be used as measurement units, obstacle avoidance sensors or navigation planners. Although many innovative research has been done about this camera, employment of such cameras in UAVs is very new. In this paper, we present the use of catadioptric systems in UAVs to estimate vehicle attitude using parallel lines that exist on many structures in an urban environment. After explanation of the algorithm, the UAV modeling and control will be presented. In order to increase the estimation and control speed an Extended Kalman Filter (EKF) and multi-threading are used and speeds up to 40 fps are obtained. Various simulations have been done to present the effectiveness of the estimation algorithms as well as the UAV controllers. A custom test stand has been designed to perform successful experiments on the UAV. Finally, we will present the experiments and the results of the estimation and control algorithms on a real model helicopter. EKF based attitude estimation and stabilization using catadioptric images has found to be a reliable alternative to other sensor usage.