Vision-aided landing for fixed wing unmanned aerial vehicle

Esin, Engin
The aim of this thesis is to design an autoland system for fixed wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to make auto landing by using position information calculated by image processing algorithms. With this ability, even if GPS is not available to be used, UAV still could make a safe automatic landing. Landing autopilot is aimed to keep UAV on a straight line with a constant flight path angle. Therefore, landing autopilot and computer vision methods are studied within the scope of this thesis. Also, to test designed system by sending control messages to landing autopilot, ground control station (GCS) software is developed. By using GCS interface, one can send commands to landing autopilot to analyze performance of the landing autopilot, activate or deactivate functions of the landing autopilot, change position data source as visual positioning system (VPS) or global positioning system (GPS) and change flight mode of the UAV. Besides testing and analyzing the system, GCS is used to prepare flight plans for landing. Waypoints of the prepared flight plan is applied by landing autopilot to keep trajectory points between two coordinates with keeping altitude and speed requests. To be able to manage that mission, waypoints include latitude, longitude, heading, altitude and speed specifications. Therefore, to be able to execute these waypoints; roll, pitch, altitude, heading and speed controllers are designed. On the image processing side, position of aircraft is detected with respect to a known sized runway. This differential position information, which is obtained by image processing, is used instead of GPS information by landing autopilot to make a safe landing. Developed system has been successfully tested in flight simulation environment under several different wind and turbulence conditions with different initial orientations of the UAV.


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Citation Formats
E. Esin, “Vision-aided landing for fixed wing unmanned aerial vehicle,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2016.