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Sensors 2015, 15(7), 16848-16865; doi:10.3390/s150716848

Monocular Vision System for Fixed Altitude Flight of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

1
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Chung Cheng Institute of Technology, National Defense University, Taoyuan 33551, Taiwan
2
School of Defense Science, Chung Cheng Institute of Technology, National Defense University, Taoyuan 33551, Taiwan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vittorio M.N. Passaro
Received: 9 May 2015 / Revised: 1 July 2015 / Accepted: 8 July 2015 / Published: 13 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [6608 KB, uploaded 13 July 2015]   |  

Abstract

The fastest and most economical method of acquiring terrain images is aerial photography. The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has been investigated for this task. However, UAVs present a range of challenges such as flight altitude maintenance. This paper reports a method that combines skyline detection with a stereo vision algorithm to enable the flight altitude of UAVs to be maintained. A monocular camera is mounted on the downside of the aircraft’s nose to collect continuous ground images, and the relative altitude is obtained via a stereo vision algorithm from the velocity of the UAV. Image detection is used to obtain terrain images, and to measure the relative altitude from the ground to the UAV. The UAV flight system can be set to fly at a fixed and relatively low altitude to obtain the same resolution of ground images. A forward-looking camera is mounted on the upside of the aircraft’s nose. In combination with the skyline detection algorithm, this helps the aircraft to maintain a stable flight pattern. Experimental results show that the proposed system enables UAVs to obtain terrain images at constant resolution, and to detect the relative altitude along the flight path. View Full-Text
Keywords: unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV); monocular camera; stereo vision; motion vector detection unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV); monocular camera; stereo vision; motion vector detection
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Huang, K.-L.; Chiu, C.-C.; Chiu, S.-Y.; Teng, Y.-J.; Hao, S.-S. Monocular Vision System for Fixed Altitude Flight of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Sensors 2015, 15, 16848-16865.

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