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Low-Altitude Terrain-Following Flight Planning for Multirotors

Dipartimento di Ingegneria Elettrica, Elettronica e Informatica, Università di Catania, 95125 Catania, Italy
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Drones 2020, 4(2), 26;
Received: 23 May 2020 / Revised: 22 June 2020 / Accepted: 23 June 2020 / Published: 25 June 2020
Surveying with unmanned aerial vehicles flying close to the terrain is crucial for the collection of details that are not visible when flying at higher altitudes. This type of missions can be applied in several scenarios such as search and rescue, precision agriculture, and environmental monitoring, to name a few. We present a strategy for the generation of low-altitude trajectories for terrain following. The trajectory is generated taking into account the morphology of the area of interest, represented as a georeferenced Digital Surface Model (DSM), while ensuring a safe separation from any obstacle. The surface model of the scenario is created by using a UAV-based photogrammetry software, which processes the images acquired during a preliminary mission at high altitude. The solution was developed, tested, and verified both in simulation and in real scenarios with a multirotor equipped with low-cost sensing. The experimental results proved the validity of the generation of trajectories at altitudes lower than most of the works available in the literature. The images acquired during the low-altitude mission were processed to obtain a high-resolution reconstruction of the area as a representative application result. View Full-Text
Keywords: aerial survey; trajectory generation; multirotors; terrain following; digital surface models aerial survey; trajectory generation; multirotors; terrain following; digital surface models
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Melita, C.D.; Guastella, D.C.; Cantelli, L.; Di Marco, G.; Minio, I.; Muscato, G. Low-Altitude Terrain-Following Flight Planning for Multirotors. Drones 2020, 4, 26.

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