This article presents a precise landing system that allows rotary-wing UAVs to approach and land safely on moving platforms, without using GNSS at any stage of the landing maneuver, and with a centimeter level accuracy and high level of robustness. This system implements a novel concept where the relative position and velocity between the aerial vehicle and the landing platform are calculated from the angles of a cable that physically connects the UAV and the landing platform. The use of a cable also incorporates a number of extra benefits, such as increasing the precision in the control of the UAV altitude. It also facilitates centering the UAV right on top of the expected landing position, and increases the stability of the UAV just after contacting the landing platform. The system was implemented in an unmanned helicopter and many tests were carried out under different conditions for measuring the accuracy and the robustness of the proposed solution. Results show that the developed system allowed landing with centimeter accuracy by using only local sensors and that the helicopter could follow the landing platform in multiple trajectories at different velocities.
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